The Covid emergency is officially over. Now, the Food and Drug Administration has made an announcement about the once-controversial drug Ivermectin, which proponents claimed had beneficial antiviral properties that were helpful in treating Covid-19.
This week, a Justice Department attorney representing the FDA stated that doctors have the authority to prescribe ivermectin for the treatment of COVID-19.
“The FDA explicitly recognizes that physicians have the authority to prescribe ivermectin to treat COVID,” the attorney said during oral arguments.
The US government maintains the FDA’s ongoing warnings against the use of ivermectin for COVID-19, one of which stated, in particular, “Stop it.”
Three doctors initiated the lawsuit, alleging that the FDA unlawfully interfered with their medical practices through these statements. In 2022, a federal court dismissed the case, leading to an appeal.
“The fundamental question in this case is simple. After the FDA approves the human drug for sale, does it have the authority to interfere with how that drug is used in the doctor-patient relationship? The answer is no.” Jared Kelson, representing the doctors, told the appeals court.
The FDA on August 21, 2021 wrote on Twitter (now X): “You are not a horse. You are not a cow. Seriously, everyone. Stop it.”
This message, which directed users to an FDA webpage advising the use of ivermectin for the prevention or treatment of COVID-19, gained widespread attention.
The plaintiffs, Drs. Paul Marik, Mary Bowden and Robert Apter claim that the FDA’s statements adversely affected their careers, leading to their termination for attempting to prescribe ivermectin to patients.
Dr. Marik notes that several studies, which the FDA has recognized, advocate the use of ivermectin in the treatment of COVID-19. Conversely, other research indicates minimal or no benefit.
According to Mr. Kelson, while federal law allows the FDA to release information, such as data about side effects of drugs, it does not give them the authority to provide medical advice.
“That’s something the FDA has never been able to do. And it’s a bright line,” he told the court, adding, “The clearest examples of where they’ve gone over the line are when they say things like, ‘You’re not a horse, you’re not a cow.’ Really, everybody. Stop it.'”
The judges agreed that the FDA does not have the power to give medical advice. As Judge Clement told the government agency, “You are not authorized to give medical advice.”
All this is too little, too late for millions of people who sought therapeutic treatments during the Covid pandemic. In April, President Biden signed House Joint Resolution 7, which officially ends the pandemic emergency.
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