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Healthcare Societies Oppose Legal Advocacy for Ivermectin

The IDSA, HIVMA, and SHEA released a statement opposing legal intervention on behalf of ivermectin as a COVID-19 treatment.

The antiparasitic drug ivermectin has become infamous amid debates regarding its safety and efficacy as a COVID-19 treatment.

Ivermectin is not approved to prevent or treat COVID-19. However, the drug has been at the center of several recent lawsuits, as plaintiffs attempt to force hospitals to administer the drug to ailing COVID-19 patients.

Yesterday, the Infectious Diseases Society of America (IDSA), HIV Medicine Association (HIVMA), and Society for Healthcare Epidemiology of America (SHEA) released a joint statement responding to lawsuits demanding COVID-19 patients be allowed ivermectin treatment.

The organizations acknowledged the significant and tragic burden of COVID-19, saying this is why precise research into treatments like ivermectin is so imperative. The health associations strongly voiced their opposition to any legal intervention in favor of ivermectin, writing, “Efforts to influence clinical practice through lawsuits, including recent cases ordering hospitals to treat COVID-19 patients with ivermectin, could expose patients to serious harm and undermine the evaluation of COVID-19 treatments.”

IDSA, HIVMA, and SHEA emphasized that the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) takes care to review all medical research in a safe and timely fashion. “FDA is considered the global gold standard for safety and effectiveness review of medical products,” they wrote, “and we rely upon FDA expertise now more than ever.”

The societies concluded their statement by noting that the IDSA’s committee of expert infectious diseases clinicians, pharmacists and guideline specialists recommended against the use of ivermectin to treat COVID-19. The panel assessed all available research regarding ivermectin in COVID-19 patients and found the certainty of evidence extremely low.

Studies on the effectiveness of treating COVID-19 with ivermectin have yielded mixed results, but most recently found ivermectin no more effective than placebo or standard care.

Currently, ivermectin is FDA approved in humans for the treatment of parasitic worms, such as intestinal strongyloidiasis and onchocerciasis. Ivermectin topical formulations should only be used by prescription to treat external parasites and skin conditions. The FDA stated, “There are approved uses for ivermectin in people and animals but it is not approved for the prevention or treatment of COVID-19. You should not take any medicine to treat or prevent COVID-19 unless it has been prescribed to you by your health care provider and acquired from a legitimate source.”