NASHVILLE, Tenn. (WJHL) – A local lawmaker has co-sponsored a bill that would allow ivermectin to be sold over the counter in Tennessee without a prescription. On Wednesday, the bill co-sponsored by Sen. Rusty Crowe (R-Johnson City) was passed by the state Senate.
Senate Bill 2188 was introduced by Sen. Frank Niceley (R-Strawberry Plains) on Jan. 31. Crowe became one of the bill’s co-sponsors as it made its way past committees in the Senate. It passed in the Senate with a vote of 23-6.
The bill would authorize “ivermectin suitable for human use” to be sold or bought as an over-the-counter medication in Tennessee without a prescription. Pharmacists and other licensed healthcare providers would not be required to provide a consultation prior to the sale either.
“Sales will be pursuant to each pharmacist’s physician collaborative agreement, and to procedures that will be developed by the Tennessee Board of Pharmacy,” a release from the Senate Republican Caucus states in reference to the bill’s passage in the Senate.
The release states that under the bill, any pharmacist or prescriber who acts in good faith would be immune to disciplinary actions or civil liability related to the sale of ivermectin.
“Ivermectin is one of the many therapeutic options like vaccines, monoclonal antibodies, and anti-virals that have proven to be effective in the treatment of COVID-19,” Crowe stated in the release. “This bill will provide for a safe and effective way for patients to quickly access ivermectin over the counter and under the supervision of their pharmacists and the physician with whom the pharmacists have their collaborative agreement.”
The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has advised against using ivermectin as a treatment for COVID-19. According to the FDA, ivermectin tablets have been approved “at very specific doses” for the treatment of some parasitic worms, as well as a topical formula for lice and certain skin conditions. However, the FDA reports that data does not suggest ivermectin is effective against COVID-19, with trials related to using it as a treatment remain ongoing.
The FDA has warned that taking large doses of ivermectin is, in fact, dangerous. Further, the FDA warns anyone from taking medication intended for animals as the products differ.
In a March 30 article, ABC News reported on a study published by the New England Journal of Medicine. That study found that ivermectin did not reduce the risk of being hospitalized with COVID-19.
The study was based on 1,300 patients, some of whom were given ivermectin and others a placebo. Ultimately, the study concluded that there was no difference in hospitalization risk found between the two groups.
In the release from the Senate Republican Caucus, both Crowe and Niceley stated that ivermectin is effective.
“Ivermectin is cheap, safe, and effective,” Niceley said. “This bill lets the pharmacist prescribe the correct dose for a patient’s condition, and takes into consideration the patient’s preexisting conditions and the medications they are currently taking. I sincerely hope that this bill can be helpful to the people that we all represent.”
The House version of the bill has been placed on the regular calendar for consideration on Thursday, April 7.