An Arkansas jail is under investigation by the state Medical Board for giving its prisoners an anti-parasite drug to treat COVID-19, The Associated Press reported.
“I asked what are they, and they’d just tell me vitamins,” Edrick Floreal-Wooten told the AP. “With me being sick and all of us being sick, we thought that they were there to help us. I never thought they would do something shady.”
Jail physician Dr. Rob Karas defended the use of ivermectin to treat COVID-19. Karas said he has prescribed it to jail detainees and patients at his clinics that are significantly sick with COVID-19 since late 2020.
“They were pretty much testing us in here is all they were doing, seeing if it would work,” said William Evans, a jail resident. He told the AP he was given the drug for two weeks after he tested positive for COVID-19.
According to Dr. Karas, no detainees at the jail were forced to take the drug.
“I do not have the luxury of conducting my own clinical trials or study and am not attempting to do so,” Karas wrote.” I am on the front line of trying to prevent death and serious illness.”
Karas said that he has personally taken the drug and given it to family members to prevent COVID-19. He has also recommended ivermectin as a preventive measure for COVID-19.
However, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has not approved ivermectin to prevent or treat COVID-19 patients.
The drug’s manufacturer, Merck, said in February that it had no evidence that ivermectin is an effective treatment for COVID-19. Both the American Medical Association and pharmacists have called for an immediate halt to the use of the drug to treat COVID-19 without clinical trials, according to the AP.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) sent out an alert about the trend to doctors in early September. The CDC said there is no evidence that ivermectin is effective at preventing or treating COVID-19. Side effects from the drug include skin rashes, nausea, and vomiting.
Since the summer began, calls to poison control centers about ivermectin overdoses have multiplied to five times the normal number, the story said.