Ivermectin has now become a political issue for some Republicans. : Blows
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When South Carolina state senators held two hearings in September on COVID treatments, they heard about the benefits of ivermectin — which many lawmakers praised along the way, sharing the experiences of loved ones.
Demands for access to the drug were loud and insistent, despite the fact that federal regulators had just issued a strong warning against using the drug to treat COVID-19.
Audience member Pressley Stutts III reminded the panel that his father, a prominent GOP leader in the state, had died of COVID just a month prior. He thought the ivermectin might have helped. But doctors at the hospital didn’t even discuss it, he said.
“I got as far as I could without getting thrown in jail trying to save my dad’s life,” he told the panel, as lawmakers offered their condolences.
“What is happening here?” he asked, passion growing in his voice. “My father is dead !”
Calls to public authorities have piled up. And now they are starting to act, largely to satisfy their conservative constituents.
Ivermectin is a generic drug that has been used for decades to treat river blindness, scabies, and even head lice. Veterinarians also use it, in different formulations and dosages, to treat animals against parasites like worms.
After the pandemic began, scientists launched clinical trials to see if ivermectin could help as a treatment for COVID. Some of them are still ongoing. But most doctors currently won’t prescribe it as a COVID treatment, citing the poor quality of studies to date and two notorious “preprint” studies that were later removed from the internet due to inaccurate and flawed data.
On August 26, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention issued a health alert reminding clinicians that ivermectin is not an FDA-approved treatment for COVID, noting insufficient evidence of benefit and emphasizing that ivermectin is not an FDA-approved treatment for COVID. he increased use of ivermectin had already led to accidental poisonings. Vaccination, the CDC reiterated, remains the best way to prevent serious illness and death from the coronavirus.
Exchange of anger and insults against ivermectin
But many Americans remain convinced that ivermectin could be beneficial, and some politicians seem to listen to them, rather than the current scientific consensus.
“If we have drugs here that work – or seem to work – I think it’s absolutely horrible that we don’t try them,” Republican Senator Tom Corbin said as he questioned doctors who also came. at the state house to fend off the ivermectin frenzy.
The doctors disputed the implied insult that they were not following best practice: “Any implication that any of us would do anything to deny effective treatments to our patients is truly insulting to our profession,” said Dr. Annie Andrews, a professor at the Medical University of South Carolina who has cared for COVID patients throughout the pandemic.
But instead of listening to the medical consensus, politicians in states like South Carolina are taking inspiration from doctors who disagree with that consensus. During their hearing, the state senators responded to a call from Dr. Pierre Kory.
Last year, Kory launched a nonprofit organization called Front Line COVID-19 Critical Care Alliance, which promotes ivermectin. He says he does not make money from prescribing the drug, although the nonprofit is soliciting donations and has not yet filed the required financial documents with the IRS.
Kory acknowledges that his medical opinions brought him to “an island”.
Dr. Kory first testified about ivermectin before a US Senate committee last December. This video has gone viral. And even though he was removed from YouTube, his Senate testimony prompted patients across the country to speak up and ask for ivermectin when they got sick.
By the end of August, outpatient prescriptions had increased 24-fold. Calls to poison control hotlines had tripled, mostly related to people taking ivermectin formulations for livestock.
Pro-ivermectin doctor says he was pushed to medical margins
Dr. Kory says he actually lost two jobs because of his views on ivermectin. At his current hospital in Wisconsin, where he runs intensive care two weeks a month, officials called him to a meeting in September, where he was told he could no longer prescribe ivermectin. He had given it to “all COVID patients,” he says.
“After the pharma-geddon that went wild, yes, they shut it down,” he told South Carolina lawmakers. “And I will tell you that many hospitals across the country had already closed it months ago.”
Framing the fight against ivermectin as a battle against faceless federal agencies and big pharma appealed to Americans who were already wary of the science behind the pandemic and approved COVID vaccines.
Kory suggests that success stories of COVID treatments in other parts of the world have been suppressed in an effort to promote the vaccine.
However, in an interview with NPR, Kory said he regretted the flashpoint he helped spark.
“I feel really bad for the patients and I feel really bad for the doctors,” he told NPR. “Both, patients and doctors, are trapped.”
Patients still demand the treatment, but even doctors sympathetic to their wishes are told by their health systems not to try it.
Ivermectin interventions become a conservative rallying cry
Now the elected Tories feel a political gain if they intervene to help patients access the drug. State legislatures, including those in Tennessee and Alaska, are debating various ways to increase access to ivermectin – with proposals such as protecting doctors from the repercussions of prescribing it or requiring pharmacists to fill questionable orders.
Blaise Gainey/WPLN News
The Montana State News Bureau reported that the state’s Republican attorney general dispatched a state trooper to a hospital in Helena where a politically connected patient was dying of COVID. His family was asking for ivermectin.
In a statement, Saint-Pierre Hospital said doctors and nurses had been “harassed and threatened by three public officials”.
“These officials have no medical training or experience, but they were insisting that our providers administer treatments for COVID-19 that are not licensed, clinically approved, or consistent with guidelines set by the FDA and CDC,” adds the communicated.
On Oct. 14, Nebraska’s Republican Attorney General addressed the controversy by releasing a nearly 50-page legal opinion that argues that physicians who consider the “off-label” use of ivermectin and hydroxychloroquine for COVID always act within the parameters of their state. medical license, as long as they get the proper consent.
Some patients have sued for ivermectin, with mixed success. A patient from Illinois was turned down. But other hospitals, including one in Ohio, have been forced to administer the drug over the objections of their doctors.
Despite gaining strong political backing, some ivermectin proponents say they are now avoiding the healthcare system because they no longer believe in it.
Lesa Berry of Richmond, Va., had a friend who died earlier this year from COVID. Doctors refused to use ivermectin, despite requests from Berry and the patient’s daughter.
They know better now, she said.
“My first attempt would have been to keep her out of the hospital,” Berry says. “Because right now when you go to the hospital, they only give you what’s on CDC protocol.”
Now Berry and her husband have purchased their own supply of ivermectin, which they keep at home.
This story is a partnership with NPR, Kaiser Health News and Nashville Public Radio.