FDA To Remove Posts About Ivermectin Following Lawsuit Settlement

Following the settlement of a lawsuit arguing that the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) unlawfully blocked ivermectin from being used to treat COVID-19, the government health agency has agreed to remove all social media posts encouraging citizens to avoid the drug.

The lawsuit was filed by Dr. Mary Talley Bowden of Texas, Dr. Robert Apter of Arizona and Dr. Paul Marik of Virginia. The three plaintiffs argued in their 2022 complaint that public notices from the FDA and the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) were unlawfully interfering with their medical practices.

Bowden noted that certain communications steering people away from the use of ivermectin for COVID-19 did not initially point out that doctors who did prescribe the drug were doing so within legal guidelines, therefore putting her and her colleagues in a bad light when word got out that they were using the drug for treatment.

The agreement, which was put out in federal court on March 21, stipulates that the lawsuit is dismissed on the condition that the FDA remove an especially controversial article titled “Why You Should Not Use Ivermectin to Treat or Prevent COVID-19.” The agreement also requires the agency to remove all posts related to this claim and article from social media platforms, including LinkedIn, Facebook and X. These actions must be taken within 21 days.

As the global pandemic dragged on, controversies about effective and safe treatments persisted. Medical professionals who questioned the safety of emergency approved vaccines resorted to unconventional treatments like ivermectin, a drug first used in the 1970s by veterinarians. It was approved for human use in 1987.

Although approved by the FDA to treat certain ailments—including river blindness, head lice and rosacea—the federal agency adamantly rejected the concept of using it to treat COVID-19 infections. In one warning against the practice that has been widely circulated, the agency wrote, “You are not a horse. You are not a cow. Seriously, y’all. Stop it.”

With the rise in support for using ivermectin to treat COVID-19, the FDA consistently pleaded with the public not to do so, beginning in 2021. A year later, the doctors sued the agency, arguing that its efforts to dissuade the public from using ivermectin was illegal.

The case was first rejected but later picked up due to a ruling from the Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals, which said that the FDA is “not a physician” and therefore is not exempt from scrutiny due to sovereign immunity.