By Robert Tapfumaneyi
CONTROVERSIAL Harare medical doctor Jack Stone is under fire for advocating off-label therapies she is offering to patients despite lack of clinical evidence the medicine is safe and effective.
Stone is advocating a worrying combination of therapy for patients with SARS-CoV-2 infection and Covid-19.
In a letter of complaint to Ms Mwakutuya, the Registrar of Medical and Dental professional Council of Zimbabwe signed by Professor Rashida Ferrand, a Specialist Physician and Professor of International Health and Associate Professor Katharina Kranzer, an Associate Professor of Infectious Disease Epidemiology, the health professionals said Stone’s actions needed urgent review.
They also want her fitness to continue practising in the country reviewed.
“We strongly believe she has transgressed the strong code of conduct that the medical profession is bound to and is potentially putting her patients at risk of harm,” read the letter in part.
“Dr Stone seems to be taking advantage of her patients’ anxiety and vulnerable situation to promote panic and utilisation of a non-evidence-based treatment regime.
“Her actions have engendered a widespread belief that the health system is withholding treatment from communities.
“In particular, we believe she is not acting with integrity or honesty. She is not holding herself accountable for professional and personal behaviours, and she is not taking responsibility for the stewardship of her position of authority, mindful of her impact on others.
“While the challenging situation within the health system means that conventional therapies such as oxygen are difficult to access, this does not justify advocating therapies that do not currently have a robust evidence base.”
The doctors added, “In particular, we believe that if any therapies are suggested for use ‘on compassionate grounds’, under extreme circumstances, the lack of an evidence base must be made clear to patients in order to enable them to give informed consent to the therapies they are being offered.”
There are a series of video lectures given to the public by Stone, that have been widely shared on social media in Zimbabwe where she is advocating a combination of nebulised nano silver, ivermectin and doxycycline, to be given at home.
The doctor is said to be getting protection from MPDCZ as complaints against her last year have not been attended to.
“We understand that a letter of complaint was also sent by Dr Rothwell to MPDCZ as early as March 2020. We are disappointed that no action has yet been taken and that she continues to practise,” the doctors said in their letter.
The position of the National Institutes of Health (NIH) as of 14th January 2021 and of the South African Health Products Regulatory Authority is that there is currently not sufficient data on either effectiveness or safety to recommend ivermectin in prevention or management of SARS-CoV-2 infection.
“It is also not recommended by the Zimbabwean treatment guidelines. We appreciate that trials awaited, but the results are not currently available, and the statement made my Dr Stone above clearly contradicts the current evidential status re ivermectin,” doctors said.