INDIANAPOLIS — A bill introduced in the Indiana General Assembly would allow health providers to prescribe ivermectin to COVID-19 patients and ban them from discouraging its use.
House Bill 1372, authored by Rep. Curt Nisly, R-Goshen, would also prevent the Medical Licensing Board of Indiana, Indiana State Board of Nursing and Indiana Board of Pharmacy from disciplining physicians, nurses or pharmacists who provide the drug to patients.
Ivermectin is an anti-parasitic drug that the Federal Drug Administration said is not effective against COVID-19 and dangerous when taken improperly. The FDA has not authorized or approved its use as a treatment for the coronavirus.
According to the FDA, levels of ivermectin approved for human uses can interact with other medications, such as blood thinners. Overdosing on the drug can cause nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, low blood pressure, allergic reactions, dizziness, problems with balance, seizures, coma and death.
The FDA also cited “misinformation” that has some people treating themselves after purchasing over-the-counter medication meant for animals.
Ivermectin has been promoted by conservative commentators for use against COVID-19 despite the lack of evidence that it helps people with the virus.
HB1372 would require pharmacists to provide each recipient of ivermectin with an information sheet that includes the importance of follow-up care and health care referral information.
“Nothing on the information sheet may discourage the recipient from using ivermectin for the treatment of COVID-19,” the bill says.
The bill received a first reading Tuesday and was referred to the Committee on Public Health. WRTV contacted Nisly’s office for comment.
In September 2021, a woman filed a lawsuit against Ascension St. Vincent Hospital after she said doctors refused to administer ivermectin to her mother, who was on a ventilator due to COVID-19. Megan Bournique claimed invermectin was prescribed to her mother by a physician’s assistant named in the lawsuit.
Bournique later dropped the lawsuit when her mother began to show improvement without the drug.
Dozens of other lawsuits have been filed around the United States by people seeking to force hospitals to give their loved ones ivermectin, according to the Associated Press.
Reaction to the Indiana bill by medical professionals on social media was harsh.
IU Health Dr. Gabriel Bosslet said on Twitter that the HB1372 “feels personal.”
“There are a million reasons why legislating medical treatment is a bad idea,” Bosslet wrote. “But legislating the use of ineffective treatments is a whole new level of insanity.”
Indiana legislators have also filed bills countering COVID-19 vaccine mandates.
Republicans are pushing House Bill 1001, which they say will protect individual rights by forcing businesses that require COVID-19 vaccinations to grant exemptions to workers claiming medical or religious reasons. The bill is receiving pushback from businesses, medical groups, Democrats and Gov. Eric Holcomb.
Senate Bill 31 would also prohibit employers from requiring the COVID-19 vaccine as a condition for employment if a person rejects the shot for health or religious reasons.
Another piece of legislation, Senate Bill 114, would ban “vaccine status discrimination” and prohibit businesses from requiring the COVID-19 vaccine for employees or customers. It would also prohibit businesses from requiring face coverings, testing or social distancing based on vaccination status.
The Indiana Department of Health reported on Tuesday that a record 3,467 Hoosiers are hospitalized with COVID-19. Indiana’s 7-day average for cases also reached a pandemic high of 13,195. More than 19,000 Hoosiers have died from the virus since the pandemic began.