COLUMBUS, OH (WCMH) – A bill promoting the use of ivermectin, hydroxychloroquine and other “alternative” COVID-19 therapies was introduced Thursday at the Statehouse.
Introduced by rep. Kris Jordan (R-Ostrander) in the late hours of 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 text of the bill.
As long as a patient or patient’s representative consents to the treatment – and a healthcare provider considers its use appropriate – Ohioans diagnosed with COVID-19 are eligible to receive medications such as ivermectin or other “alternative treatments,” reads Jordan’s bill.
Dr. Iahn Gonsenhauser, 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 Ohio’s health.
When some state lawmakers opposed the proliferation of the COVID-19 vaccine citing obscure effects – despite widespread permission from health agencies – Gonsenhauser said supporters of HB 631 are hypocritical in supporting a bill full of fruitless claims.
“The same people are now putting forward a bill that supports the use of therapies that are not intended to treat COVID, have proven – really without a shadow of a doubt – to have failed in the treatment of COVID, and have in fact, has been shown to have significant safety implications, ”Gonsenhauser said.
The FDA reported one “rapid increase” in severe disease caused by ivermectin intake as a COVID-19 treatment in August and warned against the use of hydroxychloroquine outside hospital settings due to the risk of cardiovascular problems
Jordan did not respond to requests for comment at the time of publication.
Under Jordan’s bill, Ohio’s boards and health departments would be required to increase the distribution of the drugs to pharmacies and healthcare professionals and prohibit the suppression or reprimanding of their use as COVID-19 treatments.
The bill lists four types of drugs: ivermectin, an antiparasitic drug often used as a dewormer for pets; hydroxychloroquine, an anti-malarial treatment; budesonide, an obscure steroid; and azithromycin, an antibacterial drug, according to Gonsenhauser.
And he said it is worth noting that none of the four drugs listed as “alternative” treatment options are antiviral, nor have they been shown to help patients diagnosed with COVID-19.
“COVID is a virus – not a bacterium – and that’s an important, very significant difference,” Gonsenhauser said.
Poison control centers have increasingly responded to reports of toxicity due to the use of ivermectin and hydroxychloroquine of COVID-19 patients, Gonsenhauser said, and the combination of the two drugs increases the likelihood of cardiac arrest.
“And yet we have government-level leaders promoting these drugs,” he said.