COLUMBUS, Ohio (WCMH) – A bill promoting the use of ivermectin, hydroxychloroquine and other “alternative” COVID-19 treatment drugs was introduced Thursday at the Statehouse.
Introduced by Rep. Kris Jordan (R-Ostrander) in the late hours Thursday, House Bill 631 protects and encourages the use of ivermectin, hydroxychloroquine and other drugs not approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration to treat COVID-19 patients, according to the bill’s text.
So long as a patient or a patient’s representative consents to the treatment – and a health care provider deems its use appropriate – Ohioans diagnosed with COVID-19 are eligible to receive drugs like ivermectin or other “alternative treatments,” Jordan’s bill reads.
Dr. Iahn Gonsenhauser, the chief quality and patient safety officer at Ohio State’s Wexner Medical Center, said the bill’s promotion of unauthorized drugs “absolutely” poses a threat to the health of Ohioans.
As some state lawmakers resisted the deployment of the COVID-19 vaccine citing unclear effects – despite widespread authorization from health agencies – Gonsenhauser said the supporters of HB 631 are hypocritical for backing a bill steeped in fruitless claims.
“Those same individuals are now introducing a bill that supports the use of therapies that are not intended to treat COVID, have been proven – really beyond a shadow of a doubt – to be unsuccessful in the treatment of COVID, and have actually been shown to have significant safety consequences,” Gonsenhauser said.
The FDA reported a “rapid increase” in severe illness caused by the ingestion of ivermectin as a COVID-19 treatment in August and cautioned against the use of hydroxychloroquine outside of hospital settings due to the risk of cardiovascular problems
Jordan did not respond to requests for comment by the time of publication.
Under Jordan’s bill, Ohio’s boards and departments of health would be required to increase distribution of the drugs to pharmacies and health care professionals and outlawed from suppressing or reprimanding the use of them as COVID-19 treatments.
The bill lists four types of drugs: ivermectin, an anti-parasitic drug often used as a deworming agent for pets; hydroxychloroquine, an anti-malarial treatment; budesonide, an obscure steroid; and azithromycin, an antibacterial drug, according to Gonsenhauser.
And, he said it’s worth noting that none of the four drugs listed as “alternative” treatment options are anti-viral nor have shown to help patients diagnosed with COVID-19.
“COVID is a virus – not a bacteria – and that’s an important, very significant distinction,” Gonsenhauser said.
Poison control centers have increasingly responded to reports of toxicity resulting from the use of ivermectin and hydroxychloroquine by COVID-19 patients, Gonsenhauser said, and the combination of the two drugs increases the likelihood of cardiac arrest.
“And yet we have leaders at the level of state government promoting these drugs,” he said.