FDA Denies Ivermectin Approved for COVID
Viral courtroom statement that doctors can prescribe the medication convinced Capitol Hill, public, media of policy change
The doctors suing the FDA over ivermectin forced the agency to speak out publicly about the medication for the first time in years.
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The FDA launched a publicity blitz this week to try to convince people that ivermectin is not approved and not a “safe or effective” treatment for COVID.
Dr. Mary Talley Bowden, one of the doctors suing the FDA, said the campaign shows the agency is “worried” about how the federal appeals court will rule in the case.
As you read here first, a Justice Department lawyer said in a Fifth Circuit Appeals Court hearing on Aug. 8 that the "FDA explicitly recognizes that doctors do have the authority to prescribe ivermectin to treat COVID.”
I listened to the whole hearing live and didn’t think that the FDA changed policy. But that one line went viral, which led members of Congress, the media, and the public to believe ivermectin had been approved to treat COVID. The distrust of the FDA is high.
"The FDA is now saying that it’s okay to take ivermectin if you have COVID,” Fox’s Maria Bartiromo said on Aug. 11 about the hearing. “My COVID was gone in a day when I took ivermectin. Now, three years later, the FDA says, fine, take ivermectin.”
Capitol Hill believes it
Bartiromo was interviewing Sen. Ron Johnson (R-Wisc.). He replied that “the FDA sabotaged ivermectin.” He referenced the FDA’s social media from Aug. 2021 (below) and said, “This was supposedly horse medicine — no, this was Noble-prize-winning medication that could have saved hundreds of thousands of lives.”
Later, Johnson posted on Twitter: "Now the FDA quietly approves ivermectin’s use? What’s going on?"
He wasn’t the only one on Capitol Hill under the impression that the FDA changed its policy. Rep. Andy Biggs (R-Ariz) tweeted:
Evidence has shown that Ivermectin was an effective treatment against Covid-19 from the start. The FDA quietly acknowledged the drug's effectiveness with approval last week.
Rep. Tom Tiffany (R-Wisc) tweeted about it and wrote, “Hmm now the TRUTH comes out.”
It gave these “facts” to explain what its lawyer said in court:
1) Although FDA has approved ivermectin for certain uses in humans and animals, it has not authorized or approved ivermectin for use in preventing or treating COVID-19, nor has the agency stated that it is safe or effective for that use.
2) Health care professionals generally may choose to prescribe an approved human drug for an unapproved use when they judge that the unapproved use is medically appropriate for an individual patient.
Dr. Bowden ofsaid the agency’s posts “suggest they are worried about the pending decision of the 5th circuit.”
Misinformation or truth?
The public response to the FDA’s fact-checks was almost entirely negative, as you can see below. The pandemic made people lose confidence that public health agencies tell the truth.
I recently wrote about how to do crisis communications when your reputation is on the line. The FDA has failed to follow any of the best practices (respond immediately, tell the whole truth) since the beginning of the pandemic. Now, it’s too late.
The FDA’s credibility and brand are so tattered that well-informed, public figures think the agency has been lying about COVID treatments and vaccines.
You can also read how I was scapegoated by the FDA in the first year of the pandemic, which gives you insight into its dysfunctional internal workings.
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