During the COVID-19 epidemic, mask rules, vaccination mandates, and business shut downs all made their way to the courts, posing questions about science and government authority. They are now being asked to weigh-in on the deworming drug, ivermectin.
Two dozen lawsuits have been filed in the U.S. by people who want to make hospitals give their COVID-stricken loved one ivermectin. This drug for parasites has been promoted by conservative commentators to be a treatment, despite the lack of evidence to support it.
The drug was first popularized in the latter half of last year and in the beginning of this year. It became a hot topic among conservatives via social media when some studies in other countries were withdrawn.
The cases, which were filed by several western New York lawyers, are similar. Although the families received prescriptions for ivermectin from their doctors, hospitals refused to give it to their loved ones who are often on ventilators or facing death.
In state courts, there has been mixed results. Some judges refused to allow hospitals to administer ivermectin. Some judges have refused to order hospitals to administer the medication, even though it was feared that it could cause harm.
Ralph Porzio, the state Supreme Court Judge, refused to allow the use of ivermectin during a September Staten Island case. This was in response to a lawsuit brought by a father who was ill and sued a hospital.
He wrote that “this court will not require any physician to be in a potentially unethical situation wherein they could commit medical malpractice by administering medication for an unapproved, suspected off-label purpose.”
It’s amazing, according to James Beck, a Philadelphia attorney who specializes on drug and medical device product liability. He has also written about the influx. “I have never seen anything like it before.”
Sometimes, the original order to administer the drug was reversed.
Hospitals have responded by stating that their standards of care do not allow them to give patients drugs that haven’t been approved for COVID. This could cause harm and that it is dangerous to allow laypeople and judges override medical professionals.
Arthur Caplan, professor at New York University’s Grossman school of Medicine, said that medicine is a team of experts, doctors, and hospitals. “When you go there you are not going to a restaurant. You can’t order your treatments.
“It is not possible to have a medical profession that must be subject to court orders and patient demand. Caplan stated that this is “absolutely horrible medicine”.
Ralph Lorigo does not see it this way. After being approached by the family members of an 80 year-old woman in hospital, the Buffalo attorney filed his first of many ivermectin cases in January. The second case he filed was for a 65-year-old woman who was in hospital.
Judges ordered that both women receive ivermectin from hospitals. Both women survived hospitalizations.
Lorigo has been involved in numerous cases ever since and is still adamant that Ivermectin does work. Federal agencies and health experts agree that there is no evidence it works against COVID-19. More research is needed. Studies are ongoing.
The Food and Drug Administration approved Ivermectin to treat roundworms, lice and other small parasites in humans. FDA tried to discredit claims that animal-strength version of the drug could help combat COVID-19. However, it warned that large amounts can cause nausea, vomiting and diarrhea as well as seizures and even death.
Lorigo stated that his clients don’t need these doses and only want the human-specific versions.
Lorigo stated that doctors who refuse to give ivermectin treatment to patients were not gods. He said that white jacket-wearing doctors are not gods. I disagree with their stance.
Hospital administrators are the only ones who can make decisions in their hospital. That’s not a rule of the law that I accept.
As courts wrestle with the issue of whether states or employers can order employees to get vaccinated against this virus that has claimed the lives of more than 700,000.
Beck, the drug liability lawyer, stated that doctors have the right to prescribe ivermectin for COVID treatment, even though it’s not approved by FDA. If they believe it has therapeutic value, it is an “off label” use.
He said, “I have never seen a case where the judge was asked for someone to use an off-label use.”
Lorigo stated that he has received more questions from families regarding the drug over the past 10 weeks. He now has four lawyers working on these cases, two of which he just hired.