A proposed Indiana bill would allow for ivermectin to be used as a treatment against COVID-19, and health officials warn that if it passes, the consequences could be far-reaching, news outlets report.
House Bill 1372, authored by Republican state Rep. Curt Nisly, would permit doctors and nurses to “create a standing order” for ivermectin, and pharmacists would be required to dispense the drug, no prescription necessary. The bill would also prohibit the state boards for each profession from taking disciplinary action against any of the medical practitioners involved.
Health care providers who have given ivermectin to patients for COVID-19 have faced consequences for doing so, McClatchy News reported.
“We cannot allow political red tape to steal the lives of those we care about,” Rep. Nisly said of his bill in a statement.
“The health of you and your family should never be dictated by tyrannical politicians or corrupt physicians,” he continued. “Our lives have been dictated by elitists who believe they are the puppeteers of our society and attempt to control the narrative by fear-mongering the masses.”
While ivermectin can be prescribed for people, it is not approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration for COVID-19 treatment.
Under the bill, information sheets provided with the medication can’t contain any information that might discourage the patient from “using ivermectin for the treatment of COVID-19.”
This last provision is particularly worrying to some health officials, the Indianapolis Star reported.
“Pharmacists, and all health care professionals, should be free from government interference in the professional advice they provide patients,” Darren Covington, the Indiana Pharmacists Association’s executive vice president, told the outlet. “This bill would set a dangerous precedent by having the government substitute its own medical advice for that of a trained, health care professional. “
Dr. Mark Souder, a county health officer, told TV station WPTA that promoting ivermectin is an empty promise.
“It’s better if a physician is honest and I’d rather them do what they think is best as long as it doesn’t cause harm, although there is harm in offering something that is false hope,” Souder told the station.
Most commonly used as a livestock dewormer, and occasionally to eradicate parasites in humans, the now-controversial drug ivermectin rose to prominence as an unproven, alternative COVID-19 remedy.
Once claims about ivermectin as a coronavirus cure surfaced in social media circles, many were sickened after taking forms and dosages intended for animals, McClatchy News reported.
Rep. Nisly told the Indianapolis Star that giving people access to ivermectin through trained professionals would get rid of the need for those who want the drug to self-medicate and potentially harm themselves.
“The risks are low and the potential gains are high,” Nisly told the outlet. “Why wouldn’t we make this available, especially if we want Hoosiers to stop using horse paste. Hoosiers should be able to care for their health safely and effectively.”
Much of the American medical community has also been outspoken against using it for that purpose.
“We are alarmed by reports that outpatient prescribing for and dispensing of ivermectin have increased 24-fold since before the pandemic and increased exponentially over the past few months,” the American Medical Association said in a September statement. “As such, we are calling for an immediate end to the prescribing, dispensing, and use of ivermectin for the prevention and treatment of COVID-19 outside of a clinical trial.”
Duke University in North Carolina is currently studying “ivermectin’s ability to combat COVID-19,” the News & Observer reported.
The bill is currently in committee, according to the Indiana state legislature website.