22 May 2022

GPs must get direction about Covid-19 drugs prescribed people suffering from the virus at home warns health service watchdog

HIQA advise Dr Tony Holohan and other members of NPHET

coronavirus covid-19

HIQA advice about treatment in the home

There is not enough evidence to prove medical care at someone's home will work against Covid-19 and GPs should be directed not to prescribe drugs that are not being trialled to people in their own homes, according to the health service watchdog that is advising the National Public Health Emergency Team (NPHET) on the coronavirus pandemic.

The Health Information and Quality Authority (HIQA) has today, February 5, published its advice to the NPHET on the effectiveness of interventions in the community setting to prevent progression to severe disease in patients with COVID-19.

HIQA says has advised NPHET that there is currently insufficient evidence of effectiveness for any medical treatment aimed at reducing the risk of severe disease in patients with COVID-19 treated in the community.

A HIQA statement says that GPs should receive very clear communication that, based on the current evidence, no medicines should be prescribed outside of a clinical trial aimed at preventing progression to severe COVID-19 in the community.

Dr Máirín Ryan is HIQA’s Deputy CEO and Director of Health Technology Assessment.

“Coronavirus is a novel disease; many clinical trials are still underway and new evidence will continue to be published. However, as yet, there is insufficient evidence to support the use of any of these interventions in the community outside a clinical trial.

"As there is a significant risk of harm with all pharmaceuticals, it is important to evaluate the benefit, harms and appropriateness of treatment before interventions are deployed. The usual requirements for rigorous assessment of clinical effectiveness and safety and processes for reimbursement should apply,” she said.

HIQA said it reviewed eight randomised controlled trials (RCTs), which studied nine pharmaceutical interventions in patients with COVID-19 who were being treated in the community setting. It said none of the interventions is authorised for the treatment of COVID-19, with only a number of them authorised for any indication by the European Medicines Agency (EMA).

HIQA says its COVID-19 Expert Advisory Group is a multidisciplinary group, comprising nominated representatives from the relevant public health and clinical specialties, methodology experts, and public representation.

Read the latest advice HERE.

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