Ivermectin for all? Local GOP lawmaker's bill would allow for use of drug for COVID

Matt Enright
York Dispatch

A bill that would allow for the use of drugs like ivermectin and hydroxychloroquine to treat COVID-19 is one step closer to passing the state Legislature.

Neither drug has been approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration to treat COVID-19 outside of clinical trials.

Rep. Dawn Keefer's bill would allow for the use of therapeutic drugs "without the threat of punitive action from the state" so long as the drug was prescribed and is being taken with the patient's consent.

>>Please consider subscribing to support local journalism.

“Patients deserve the same opportunities others have already experienced," Keefer, R-Carroll Township, said in a written statement.

The FDA has approved hydroxychloroquine sulfate to treat malaria, lupus and rheumatoid arthritis and ivermectin to treat parasitic worms, head lice and certain skin conditions.

Rep. Dawn Keefer discusses concerns as York County Commissioners meet with state lawmakers and poll workers to discuss last weeks election as well as  address necessary improvements needed for future elections, at the York County Administrative Center in York City, Thursday, Nov. 14, 2019. Dawn J. Sagert photo

Ivermectin in quantities that are intended for livestock has become a popular drug among some who believe — without any evidence — that it is effective to treat or prevent COVID-19. In York County, a court ruled that one patient, who later died of COVID, could have access to ivermectin. 

"The FDA has not authorized or approved ivermectin for the treatment or prevention of COVID-19 in people or animals. Ivermectin has not been shown to be safe or effective for these indications," the FDA advised.

More: Police arrest alleged moonshiners who kept making 'legendary' recipe

More: Glen Rock's Summer Britcher crashes during Olympics luge competition

More: John Fetterman got a lot of cash from a surprising source: snail mail

While the FDA had tested hydroxychloroquine's use against COVID-19, an emergency use authorization was revoked after clinical trials showed reports of serious heart rhythm problems and other safety issues, including blood and lymph system disorders, kidney injuries and liver problems and failure.

Keefer's bill would allow prescribers to prescribe and a pharmacist to dispense a therapeutic drug, as well as using repurposed drugs for preventative and early-stage outpatient treatment and hospital inpatient treatment. 

The proposal, which passed the health committee Monday, now heads toward the full House for consideration.

— Reach Matt Enright via email at menright@yorkdispatch.com or via Twitter at @Matthew_Enright. 

READ MORE: As constituents clamor for ivermectin, Republican politicians embrace the cause