Iowa Physician Sues Licensing Boards Over Hydroxychloroquine and Ivermectin Prescription Restrictions
Dr. David Hartsuch, a physician from Iowa, is taking legal action against the Iowa Board of Medicine and Iowa Board of Pharmacy, accusing them of discouraging the use of hydroxychloroquine and ivermectin for COVID-19 treatment. In a civil lawsuit filed by Hartsuch, he is seeking a court order to require pharmacies to fill prescriptions for these drugs.
The lawsuit refers to a study published in the Journal of the American Medical Association, which revealed that around 1 in 20 U.S. adults have used hydroxychloroquine or ivermectin for COVID-19 treatment, despite the drugs not being approved by the FDA for this purpose.
While hydroxychloroquine was briefly authorized by the FDA in 2020, subsequent research found it to be ineffective and potentially harmful. On the other hand, ivermectin is primarily used as a veterinary drug to treat parasitic worms in humans in certain cases.
The disagreement between Hartsuch and the licensing boards began in March 2020 when the boards sent an email discouraging the use of hydroxychloroquine and azithromycin to treat COVID-19. However, the boards later revised their statement, allowing physicians to prescribe these drugs without facing disciplinary action.
The situation escalated in October 2021 when one of Hartsuch’s patients complained that a pharmacy had refused to fill their prescription for ivermectin. This led the Board of Medicine to initiate an investigation into Hartsuch’s prescribing practices.
Hartsuch’s lawsuit argues that the warning letter he received from the Board of Medicine violates his right to free speech and has harmed his professional reputation. He is urging the court to expunge the warning letter from his record and to issue an injunction requiring pharmacies to fill prescriptions for hydroxychloroquine and ivermectin.
Hartsuch asserts that doctors should have the right to prescribe off-label drugs, citing Nebraska as an example where the attorney general has stated that prescribing ivermectin or hydroxychloroquine for COVID-19 will not result in disciplinary action.
The impact of COVID-19 in Iowa and Nebraska is also mentioned in the lawsuit, with federal data indicating that Iowa has a higher case fatality rate compared to Nebraska.
Dr. Mollie James, another physician from Iowa, has also faced investigation for advocating the use of ivermectin and hydroxychloroquine. However, James claims that the investigation was a “sham” and did not result in any accusations of wrongdoing.
In a separate study published by The Lancet earlier this year, it was found that states that heavily voted Republican in the 2020 presidential election had a higher number of COVID-19 cases. This suggests a possible correlation between vaccine and mask mandates and infection rates.
As the legal battle unfolds, the discussions surrounding the use of hydroxychloroquine and ivermectin for COVID-19 treatment continue. The outcome of Hartsuch’s lawsuit could have implications for the prescribing practices of physicians in Iowa and potentially beyond.
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