FDA nixes anti-ivermectin posts — but maintains its stance

The FDA has removed social media posts decrying the use of ivermectin for treating COVID-19 following a court ruling, Bloomberg News reported April 16.

The FDA posted an uncharacteristically snide tweet Aug. 21, 2020, in which it reminded Americans why it does not support the use of ivermectin to treat COVID-19: "You are not a horse. You are not a cow. Seriously, y'all. Stop it," the tweet read. It also included a link to a webpage the FDA created earlier in the year titled "Why You Should Not Use Ivermectin to Treat or Prevent COVID-19."

Not long after, three Texas physicians filed a lawsuit claiming the agency's actions interfered with their medical practices and harmed their reputations. Because of the FDA's posts, pharmacists refused to fill ivermectin prescriptions for their patients and one physician claimed they lost their position at a hospital and medical school for promoting ivermectin use.

In September, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit ruled that the FDA's tweets overstepped its authority by sharing medical advice or recommendations. The agency agreed to remove the post and webpage updates as part of the settlement.

"The agency has chosen to resolve this lawsuit rather than continuing to litigate over statements that are between two and nearly four years old," an FDA spokesperson told Bloomberg. "FDA has not admitted any violation of law or any wrongdoing."

The deleted social media posts have spurred claims the courts forced the FDA to walk back its statement, though the FDA said its position remains unchanged, the report said.

"We didn't retract everything we had to say about ivermectin," FDA Commissioner Robert Califf, MD, said during a House Oversight and Accountability Committee meeting. "There is no benefit of ivermectin in the treatment of Covid."


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