At the request of the Nebraska Department of Health, on Oct. 15, Nebraska Attorney General Doug Peterson issued a legal opinion that Nebraska healthcare providers can legally prescribe ivermectin and hydroxychloroquine for the treatment of COVID, so long as they obtain informed consent from the patient.
Megan Redshaw : Oct 20, 2021 Children’s Health Defense, Inc.
[Children’s Health Defense, Inc] Few subjects have been more controversial than ivermectin and hydroxychloroquine—two long-established, inexpensive medications widely and successfully used in many parts of the world for the prevention and treatment of COVID. (Screengrab image)
On Oct. 15, Nebraska Attorney General (AG) Doug Peterson issued a legal opinion that Nebraska healthcare providers can legally prescribe off-label medications like ivermectin and hydroxychloroquine for the treatment of COVID, so long as they obtain informed consent from the patient.
However, if they did neglect to obtain consent, deceive, prescribe excessively high doses or other misconduct, they could be subject to discipline, Peterson wrote.
The AG’s office emphasized it was not recommending any specific treatment for COVID. “That is not our role,” Peterson wrote. “Rather, we address only the off-label early treatment options discussed in this opinion and conclude that the available evidence suggests they might work for some people.”
Peterson said allowing physicians to consider early treatments will free them to evaluate additional tools that could save lives, keep patients out of the hospital and provide relief for our already strained healthcare system.
The opinion, based on an assessment of relevant scientific literature, was rendered in response to a request by Dannette Smith, CEO of the Nebraska Department of Health and Human Services.
Smith asked the AG’s office to look into whether doctors could face discipline or legal action under Nebraska’s Uniform Credential Act (UCA)—meant to protect public health, safety and welfare—if they prescribed ivermectin or hydroxychloroquine.
“After receiving your question and conducting our investigation, we have found significant controversy and suspect information about potential COVID-19 treatments,” Peterson wrote.
For example, a paper published in the Lancet—one of the most prestigious medical journals in the world—denounced hydroxychloroquine as dangerous, yet the statistics were flawed and the authors refused to provide analyzed data.
The paper was retracted, but not before countries stopped using the drug and trials were cancelled or interrupted.
“The Lancet’s own editor-in-chief admitted that the paper was a ‘fabrication,’ a ‘monumental fraud’ and a ‘shocking example of research misconduct’ in the middle of a global health emergency,” Peterson wrote in the opinion.
A recently published paper on COVID recognized that “for reasons that are yet to be clarified,” early treatment has not been emphasized despite numerous US healthcare providers advocating for early treatment and “scores of treating and academic physicians”—who have published papers in well-respected journals—urging early interventions.
Peterson cited numerous studies showing ivermectin and hydroxychloroquine reduced mortality by up to 75% or more when used as a preventive or prophylaxis for COVID, suggesting hundreds of thousands of lives could have been saved had the drugs been widely used in America.
“The data was so obviously flawed that journalists and outside researchers began raising concerns within days of the paper’s publication. Even the Lancet’s editor in chief, Dr. Richard Horton, admitted that the paper was a fabrication, a monumental fraud and a shocking example of research misconduct in the middle of a global health emergency.”
Despite calls for the Lancet to provide a full expansion of what happened, the publication declined to provide details for the retraction.
As with ivermectin, the FDA and NIH adopted positions against the use of hydroxychloroquine for COVID—making assertions that were unsupported by data. The AMA, APhA and ASHP, which opposed ivermectin, also resisted hydroxychloroquine for the treatment of COVID.
By contrast, the Association of American Physicians and Surgeons, and other physician groups, support the use of both ivermectin and hydroxychloroquine as an early treatment option for COVID. Peterson cited an article co-authored by more than 50 doctors in Reviews in Cardiovascular Medicine who advocated an early treatment protocol that includes hydroxychloroquine as a key component.
Governing law allows physicians to prescribe ivermectin and hydroxychloroquine, AG says
Neb. Rev. Stat. § 38-179 generally defines unprofessional conduct as a “departure from or failure to conform to the standards of acceptable and prevailing practice of a profession or the ethics of the profession, regardless of whether a person, consumer or entity is injured, or conduct that is likely to deceive or defraud the public or is detrimental to the public interest.”
The regulation governing physicians states that unprofessional conduct includes:
“[c]onduct or practice outside the normal standard of care in the State of Nebraska which is or might be harmful or dangerous to the health of the patient or the public, not to include a single act of ordinary negligence.”
Peterson said healthcare providers do not violate the standard of care when they choose between two reasonable approaches to medicine.
“Regulations also indicate that physicians may utilize reasonable investigative or unproven therapies that reflect a reasonable approach to medicine so long as physicians obtain written informed patient consent,” Peterson wrote.
“Informed consent concerns a doctor’s duty to inform his or her patient, and it includes telling patients about the nature of the pertinent ailment or condition, the risks of the proposed treatment or procedure and the risks of any alternative methods of treatment, including the risks of failing to undergo any treatment at all.”
Peterson said this applies to prescribing medicine for purposes other than uses approved by the FDA, and that doing so falls within the standard of care repeatedly recognized by the courts.
Peterson said the US Supreme Court has also affirmed that “off-label usage of medical devices” is an “accepted and necessary” practice, and the FDA has held the position for decades that “a physician may prescribe [a drug] for uses or in treatment regimens or patient populations that are not included in approved labeling.”
Peterson said the FDA has stated “healthcare providers generally may prescribe [a] drug for an unapproved use when they judge that it is medically appropriate for their patient, and nothing in the federal Food, Drug and Cosmetic Act (“FDCA”) limit[s] the manner in which a physician may use an approved drug.”
In a statement to KETV NewsWatch 7, Nebraska’s Department of Health and Human Services said:
“The Department of Health and Human Services appreciates the AG’s office delivering an opinion on this matter. The document is posted and available to medical providers as they determine appropriate course of treatment for their patients.”
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