| 20 April 2024, Saturday |

US judge orders hospital to treat Covid-19 patient with ivermectin

As demand for the untested coronavirus therapy rises, a US lady has secured a court order for her husband, who is on a ventilator with Covid-19, to be treated with the antiparasitic medication ivermectin at a hospital in Ohio.

Despite limited proof of the drug’s effectiveness against Covid and an increase in calls to poison centers as a consequence of misuse, including eating livestock-strength versions, the case is one of dozens throughout the country where judges have agreed with plaintiffs wanting to use it.

Judge Gregory Howard ordered West Chester Hospital, located outside Cincinnati, to treat Julie Smith’s husband Jeffrey Smith with ivermectin, according to an order filed August 23.

Smith had received a prescription from physician Fred Wagshul, who is listed on the website for a group called “Front Line Covid-19 Critical Care Alliance” that advocates for use of ivermectin.

She is being represented by lawyer Ralph Lorigo, who has won similar cases in New York and Chicago.

Since the start of the Covid pandemic, there has been considerable interest in repurposing existing medications.

Ivermectin attracted much attention, particularly in Latin America, and early lab studies suggested it might have beneficial properties for fighting the coronavirus.

But, as is often the case, promise in lab settings has so far failed to translate to real world success, as judged by its lack of clear efficacy in trials.

The National Institutes of Health says there is not enough evidence “either for or against the use of ivermectin for the treatment of Covid-19” until clear results become available from rigorous trials.

Ivermectin is approved by the Food and Drug Administration to treat people with certain conditions caused by parasitic worms, but the agency has warned people against using it for Covid.

A recent report by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) showed that by mid-August, physicians were writing out more than 88,000 prescriptions of the drug per week — well above the pre-pandemic baseline of 3,600.

  • AFP