Rep. Andy Harris (R-Md.) says he has prescribed ivermectin to his patients as a treatment for COVID-19.
Harris, who is a practicing anesthesiologist, said while co-hosting a local Baltimore radio program with his wife last month that he supports the medication being prescribed as a treatment for coronavirus, The Washington Post reported.
The use of ivermectin, which is commonly used to treat parasitic worm infections as a veterinary medicine and has sometimes been used to treat humans, has been controversial, and the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has advised against using the drug as a COVID-19 treatment.
“I wrote a prescription for ivermectin, I guess it’s now three weeks ago, four weeks ago, and yeah, couldn’t find a pharmacy to fill it,” he said on the “Casey & Company” show, according to the Post. “It’s gotten bad. ... The pharmacists are just refusing to fill it.”
Harris provided his opinion to a caller who revealed that he and his wife had not gotten vaccinated against the coronavirus and that they were following the advice of right-wing group America’s Frontline Doctors, which listed ivermectin as a treatment for COVID-19.
“Good idea,” Harris reportedly told the caller, who went by Ronnie.
Ronnie explained that he hoped to use ivermectin a few times a week to boost his immune system, but his doctor had advised against it. He then asked Harris if he should seek out a new doctor who will prescribe the deworming drug, the Post reported.
“You can go all the doctor-shopping you want; I don’t think you’re going to find a pharmacist to fill the prescription. That’s the problem,” Harris said.
He added that national pharmacy agencies have advised pharmacists not to fill prescriptions for ivermectin as a treatment for COVID-19, a move he blasted as "ridiculous.”
In August, the FDA warned Americans against taking ivermectin as a treatment for the virus, saying that while ivermectin can be prescribed to humans, it should only be used for certain conditions and should not be taken in high doses. It also warned that people can endanger themselves by taking doses meant for large animals.
“For one thing, animal drugs are often highly concentrated because they are used for large animals like horses and cows, which can weigh a lot more than we do—a ton or more. Such high doses can be highly toxic in humans,” the FDA said at the time.