Sept. 8, 2021 -- An Ohio judge ruled that a hospital does not have to give a patient the drug ivermectin as part of COVID-19 treatment because it hasn’t been proven effective, even though a doctor prescribed it.
Ivermectin is used to prevent parasites in animals such as horses and cows. Some conservative media outlets have reported that it helps treat COVID-19, despite warnings from the FDA and health experts that it’s dangerous for humans and could be fatal.
The case started when Jeffrey Smith, 51, tested positive for COVID-19 and was admitted to the West Chester Hospital ICU on July 15, where he remains sedated, intubated, and on a ventilator, TV station WBNS said.
Fred Wagshul, MD, had prescribed 21 days of ivermectin for Smith, WBNS said. The hospital refused to administer the drug at first, and Smith’s wife, Julie, filed a lawsuit which led another judge to order the hospital to give Smith ivermectin.
The hospital appealed and Butler County Common Pleas Judge Michael Oster reversed the lower court’s ruling.
“This Court is not determining if ivermectin will ever be effective and useful as a treatment for COVID-19,” Oster wrote in a court order.
“However, based upon the evidence, it has not been shown to be effective at this juncture. The studies that tend to give support to ivermectin have had inconsistent results, limitations to the studies, were open label studies, were of low quality or low certainty, included small sample sizes, various dosing regiments, or have been so riddled with issues that the study was withdrawn.”
WBNS said Wagshul is a founder of the Front Line COVID-19 Critical Care Alliance, a nonprofit that touts ivermectin as an effective drug. Though a licensed physician, Wagshul is not board certified within any specialty and hasn’t worked in a hospital for 10 years, according to his testimony.
WBNS said Wagshul prescribed ivermectin for Jeffrey Smith, but without reviewing his clinical information or talking to his treating physicians.
When asked if the drug helped Smith, Wagshul responded, “I honestly don’t know, but the rule of thumb is, when something is working, you don’t stop it,” WBNS said.
Several doctors said no research shows ivermectin helps humans with COVID-19.
“We follow science and we follow what the guidelines are,” said Daniel Tanase, MD, Jeffrey Smith’s treating physician. “So yes, I don’t think ivermectin is what he needs at this time.”
The company that manufactures ivermectin, Merck, issued a statement in February saying there is “No scientific basis for a potential therapeutic effect against COVID-19 from pre-clinical studies.”
Smith’s lawyer, Ralph Lorigo, said Smith won the case in a way. According to WBNS, Lorigo said Smith received 13 days of ivermectin at the hospital and that Julie Smith has been told her husband is improving and is being weaned from the ventilator.