Wisconsin physicians urged Sen. Ron Johnson (R-WI) during a virtual meeting on Monday to stop promoting ivermectin — the dewormer typically used on horses — as a treatment for COVID-19. It is not.
The Committee to Protect Health Care (CPHC) told a local CBS affiliate that state physicians also demanded Johnson stop fueling vaccine skepticism while he’s at it.
“As not just a physician but also a resident of Wisconsin, it’s shocking and appalling that any grown person, let alone our elected senator, would promote Ivermectin as a treatment for COVID-19,” Dr. Bob Freedland, MD, Wisconsin State Lead for the Committee to Protect Health Care and an ophthalmologist said, according to CBS 58.
Freedland made clear that Ivermectin is typically used to deworm livestock and that there is no research proving that it’s an effective treatment for COVID-19. It’s all part of a baseless claim that right-wingers, such as Johnson, have latched onto recently as an alternative to getting the shot. All it’s done, for the most part, is spur a surge in calls to poison control centers.
“Senator Ron Johnson, if you really want to save lives from COVID-19, please stop horsing around and start promoting measures that actually work, like masks and vaccines,” Freedland said, according to CBS 58.
The CPHC took notice of Johnson’s tweet earlier this month that linked to a piece written by Dr. Pierre Kory, who is a supporter of using the horse dewormer to treat COVID-19.
“It shames me to see our senator pushing false cures and conspiracy theories when we know how to prevent this disease,” said Dr. Rebecca Beach, a family medicine physician in Richland Center, according to CBS 58.
Beach took aim at Johnson for “undermining” the work of doctors throughout the state and country who have been on the frontlines of the pandemic.
“Sen. Johnson, who is not a doctor, is trying to undermine this work, and I find that frustrating beyond belief,” Beach said, according to CBS 58. “Of course, no doctor wants a patient to have to be put on a ventilator, but unlike Senator Johnson, we want to do what has to be done to save lives, not just save our political bases.”
The nationwide demand for Ivermectin as a “treatment” for COVID-19 has been largely driven by misinformation from the right-wing media, anti-vaxxers and Facebook groups dedicated to tracking down the drug. Increased human usage of the horse dewormer has led to a significant uptick in calls to poison control centers throughout the country.
Last week, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention advised against using the horse dewormer as a treatment for COVID-19. The FDA also put out a statement warning that the drug has not been approved to fight COVID.
The right-wing’s newfound obsession with Ivermectin as a treatment for COVID-19 has even found its way to court. On Monday, a state judge forced a hospital in Ohio to allow a doctor to give a patient Ivermectin, saying that the patient must be allowed to be prescribed a daily dose of 30 mg of Ivermectin for 21 days.