Editor’s note: This is by Meg Hansen (MBBS, MA), the former executive director of Vermonters for Health Care Freedom, a health policy think tank. She ran for state-level public office in 2020.
In their Wall Street Journal op-ed, “Is the FDA Attacking a Safe, Effective Drug?” (July 28), David Henderson and Charles Hooper raised important concerns about the FDA’s irrational vilification of ivermectin. They followed it with an excessive mea culpa (“we have egg on our faces”) for having included a retracted study in their argument — the removal of which does not change the conclusion that ivermectin significantly reduces hospitalizations and deaths (“Writers Missed Ivermectin Study Retraction,” July 29). Clarification is one thing, self-flagellation is another. The latter betrays a fear of being canceled and indicates the power differential between those that question the narrative and those that enforce it. Dissenters, facing a constant threat of public ridicule and ruin, feel compelled to qualify the assertions they dare make.
Our public health agencies, and most of the media and political class, agree with Big Pharma that repurposed generic drugs have no role in COVID-19 treatment and prophylaxis. Thus no amount of data attesting to the ivermectin’s safety and efficacy will suffice. The opposite is true for brand name drugs. The FDA approved antiviral remdesivir based on three small clinical trials. The National Institutes of Health (NIH) endorsed remdesivir after one study sponsored by its division, the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID). In April 2020, NIAID Director Anthony Fauci announced that the drug (sold by Gilead Sciences at $3,120 per patient for a treatment course) would become the standard of care for hospitalized COVID-19 patients. This decision came even though studies show that remdesivir does not improve patient outcomes or survival and the World Health Organization recommends against it. Note that eight members of the NIH COVID-19 Treatment Guidelines Panel have disclosed financial ties to Gilead, which spent more money lobbying Congress last year than in its history.
Not only is unwavering confidence in ivermectin warranted by the clinical and epidemiological evidence at hand, but it is also integral to confronting the hyper-politicized narrative of treating and preventing COVID-19.