I-Team 8

Indiana lawmakers push ivermectin as COVID-19 treatment

INDIANAPOLIS (WISH) — Proposed legislation by two Republican members of the Indiana House of Representatives seeks to remove the bureaucratic red tape that that limits doctors and pharmacists from dispensing ivermectin, a drug not approved for the treatment or prevention of COVID-19 by the Food and Drug Administration.  

Representative John Jacob is a disciple of freedom, and believes personal choice should extend into the doctor’s office and pharmacy. He told I-Team 8 he took ivermectin when he was diagnosed with COVID-19 last summer. That is one of the reasons he co-authored the bill that blocks state licensing boards from disciplining doctors, pharmacists or nurses who dispense ivermectin as a treatment of COVID-19.  

“I think it is very clear that there is a certain slant on information flow. In other words, the medical community, the government, has been censoring and having only certain information come out as being viable treatment,” Jacob said.

Jacob says he has not talked to any doctors about the legislation.  

“It’s a drug that’s been around a long time and to say right now that you can’t even have access to it, when it’s been shown to be a viable treatment for COVID … I don’t have anything else other than to use the word reprehensible,” Jacob said. 

The FDA has warned that using the drug for off-label treatments could have serious health consequences. Dr. Christopher Doehring of Franciscan Health says ivermectin surfaced as a possible treatment for COVID-19 early in the pandemic. A few studies showed some positive results. However, the results didn’t stand the test of the scientific community.  

“The data that was presented was not reliable data. A lot of it had been replicated multiple times in order to achieve power, and so the studies have turned out unfortunately to have no positive findings as far as treating COVID or preventing COVID with ivermectin,” Doehring said. 

A few months ago, I-Team 8 detailed a run on ivermectin in the state. The drug is available over the counter at many farm supply stores since it is labeled for the treatment of parasites. The FDA issued a warning on taking ivermectin that is formulated for a cow or horse.

And self-medication is dangerous, according to Thomas Duszynski of the Richard M. Fairbanks School of Public Health. 

“It is always dangerous because the amount of drug going into the system, what it is designed to do, that’s all calculated into the dose that you’re given by a licensed physician” Duszynski said. 

ivermectin is one of three drugs being studied for the treatment of COVID by Duke University in North Carolina. So far, 2,500 people have gone through the program, including several from Indiana. 

Dr. Adrian Hernandez is one of the principal investigators. He says ivermectin as a possible treatment for COVID has attracted people to the study.  

“Actually, I was worried that having ivermectin would do the opposite in terms of causing people not want to participate … We’ve seen that there are a lot of people who, when they get COVID-19, they’re willing to contribute in some way and they have heard about ivermectin, and so they are interested in participating in the study to help contribute answers,” Hernandez said.  

The proposed legislation has been assigned to the House’s public health committee and as of Wednesday, the committee has taken no action on the bill.