US Lawsuits demand unproven ivermectin for COVID patients
More than 40% of Americans may not get a flu shot this year. That could spell trouble during COVID.
The main reason cited for not getting a flu shot is a belief that it isn't effective. Experts say flu shots prevent thousands of deaths every year.Last year's worries around a "twindemic" of influenza and COVID-19 overwhelming hospitals around the nation luckily went unfounded after a historically mild flu season.
NEW YORK (AP) — Mask rules, vaccination mandates and business shutdowns have all landed in the courts during the COVID-19 outbreak, confronting judges with questions of science and government authority. Now they are increasingly being asked to weigh in on the deworming drug ivermectin.
At least two dozen lawsuits have been filed around the U.S., many in recent weeks, by people seeking to force hospitals to give their COVID-stricken loved ones ivermectin, a drug for parasites that has been promoted by conservative commentators as a treatment despite a lack of conclusive evidence that it helps people with the virus.
The Latest: Marchers in Rome protest work vaccine rule
ROME — Thousands of demonstrators marched down Rome’s Via Veneto and other main streets on Saturday, some clashing with police, to protest a government rule requiring COVID-19 vaccines or negative tests to access workplaces next week. The certification in Italy, known as a “Green Pass,” takes effect on Friday and applies to public and private workplaces. To obtain one, people must either have had at least one COVID-19 vaccine dose, document recovery from the illness in the last six months or test negative in the previous 48 hours.
Interest in the drug started rising toward the end of last year and the beginning of this one, when studies — some later withdrawn, in other countries — seemed to suggest ivermectin had some potential and it became a hot topic of conversation among conservatives on social media.
The lawsuits, several of them filed by the same western New York lawyer, cover similar ground. The families have gotten prescriptions for ivermectin, but hospitals have refused to use it on their loved ones, who are often on ventilators and facing death.
There has been a mix of results in state courts. Some judges have refused to order hospitals to give ivermectin. Others have ordered medical providers to give the medication, despite.
Doctors claim Brazil hospitals gave dodgy COVID-19 care
BRASILIA, Brazil (AP) — Irene Castilho didn’t even have a day to grieve after her husband died of COVID-19. She was sick, too, coughing and struggling to breathe; he was barely gone when she started using his oxygen mask. The same day, on March 22, she was admitted to a hospital in Sao Paulo. The 71-year-old had followed doctors’ instructions to the letter – dutifully taking her doses of hydroxychloroquine. She also took ivermectin and a battery of anti-inflammatories and vitamins in the so-called “COVID kit” that her health care company, Prevent Senior, mailed to her home.Still, her condition had deteriorated.At the hospital, Castilho received dialysis and was intubated.
In a September case on Staten Island, state Supreme Court Judge Ralph Porzio refused to order the use of ivermectin in a situation where a man sued a hospital on behalf of his ill father, citing its unproven impact.
“This court will not require any doctor to be placed in a potentially unethical position wherein they could be committing medical malpractice by administering a medication for an unapproved, alleged off-label purpose," he wrote.
It's astonishing, said James Beck, an attorney in Philadelphia who specializes in drug and medical device product liability and has written about the influx of cases. “I’ve never seen anything like this before.”
In some cases, an initial order to give the drug has been reversed later.
Hospitals have pushed back, saying their standards of care don't allow them to give patients a drug that hasn't been approved for COVID and could potentially cause harm, and that allowing laypeople and judges to overrule medical professionals is a dangerous road to go down.
Anti-Masker Alaska Pol Gets COVID, Boasts About Taking Unproven Meds
Two Republican state senators in Alaska have tested positive for COVID-19 and one has been leveraging her platform on Facebook to tout a cocktail of vitamins and ivermectin as a miracle cure while railing against recommendations by public health officials. “Its my turn to battle Covid head on game on!” Republican state Sen. Lora Reinbold wrote on Facebook on Tuesday night. “When I defeat it, I will tell you my recipe.” Sen. David Wilson also“Its my turn to battle Covid head on... game on!” Republican state Sen. Lora Reinbold wrote on Facebook on Tuesday night. “When I defeat it, I will tell you my recipe.
“The way medicine works is, they are the experts, the doctors and ... the hospitals," said Arthur Caplan, professor of bioethics at New York University's Grossman School of Medicine. “When you go there, you’re not going to a restaurant. You don't order your own treatments."
“You can’t have a medical field that’s subjected to having to practice according to patient demand backed up by court orders. That is positively horrible medicine" Caplan said.
Ralph Lorigo doesn't see it that way. The attorney from Buffalo, New York, filed his first of several ivermectin lawsuits in January after being approached by the family of an 80-year-old woman who was in the hospital on a ventilator. His second case was later that month, for a hospitalized 65-year-old woman.
In both cases, judges ordered hospitals to give the women get ivermectin as their families wanted. Both women survived their hospitalizations.
Lorigo, who has taken on numerous cases since, is adamant that ivermectin works. Health experts and federal agencies say that any evidence of it being effective against COVID-19 is slim and more research needs to be done. Studies are currently underway.
Joe Biden's HHS Secretary Has the Power to Lower Drug Prices. He Isn't Using It
Xavier Becerra pushed Trump to limit pharmaceutical price gouging. Now he's the one refusing to act.Much of the ongoing political debate about lowering the country's exorbitant drug prices has focused on whether Congress will authorize Medicare to use its purchasing power to negotiate more reasonable pharmaceutical prices. In the meantime, though, Becerra's office has the power to license patented pharmaceutical products made with federal funding. In July, lawmakers sent a letter to Becerra's office calling on the secretary to examine making use of these so-called "march-in" rights to control drug pricing.
Ivermectin is approved by the Food and Drug Administration to treat infections of roundworms, lice and other tiny parasites in humans. The FDA has tried to debunk claims that animal-strength versions of the drug can help fight COVID-19, warning that taking it in large doses can cause nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, seizures, delirium and even death.
Lorigo said his clients haven't sought those kinds of doses, only the versions of the medication made for humans.
Of doctors refusing to treat patients with ivermectin, Lorigo said, “they are not gods because they wear white jackets,” he said. “I take issue with their stance.”
And as for hospital administrators, “it’s like only they rule the roost, only they make a decision in their hospital. I’m not accepting that as a rule of law for us.”
The court fights over the drug have taken place as courts have also wrestled with issues like whether employers or states can order workers to be vaccinated against the virus, which has killed more than
Beck, the drug liability lawyer, said that doctors do have the power to prescribe ivermectin to treat COVID, even though it hasn't been approved by the FDA for that disease, if they think it has therapeutic value — a so-called “off label” use.
“I have never seen a case before this where the judge was asked to force someone to engage in an off label use," he said.
Lorigo said he has received more inquiries from families about the drug in the last 10 weeks and now has four attorneys working on these cases, including two he recently hired.
Romania revives restrictions as hospitals struggle, jabs lag .
BUCHAREST, Romania (AP) — Doctor Petruta Filip is working 100-hour weeks at a Bucharest hospital which, like hospitals throughout Romania, is struggling under an onslaught of COVID-19 patients in a country with worryingly low vaccination rates. The European Union country of around 19 million has only 35% of its adults fully inoculated against COVID-19 compared to an EU average of 74%, and is the second-least vaccinated nation in the 27-nation bloc in front of Bulgaria. That's crippling Romania's creaking health care system, which is also facing record-high death and infection numbers.