NASHVILLE, Tenn. (WSMV) – Ivermectin will soon be available for the treatment of COVID-19 without a prescription in Tennessee.
State Senate and House leaders voted overwhelmingly in favor of the bill, final approval of Bill SB2188/HB2746.
The bill will allow a pharmacist to dispense ivermectin tablets to a patient pursuant to a collaborative pharmacy practice agreement containing a non-patient-specific prescription, developed and filled by one or more authorized prescribers.
News 4’s Tosin Fakile spoke to Hetal Patel, pharmacist and owner of Lebanon’s family pharmacy, who said that once she can, she plans to make ivermectin available in her pharmacy.
She says and the process with pharmacies will involve a number of steps.
“There are going to be more steps involved. The Tennessee Board of Pharmacy will basically make access like naloxone. There will be a standing protocol. You will have to counsel the patient,” Patel said. “It will be over-the-counter, but there will be a few more rules and regulations that apply to it,” she added.
The Ivermectin Bill will require the Pharmacy Board (Board) to establish procedures for providing patients with a screening risk assessment tool, providing a standardized information sheet and providing either ivermectin or a reference to a pharmacy that dispenses ivermectin.
Patel said she understands the state lawmakers’ decision.
“Which in a way is fine because I’d rather have someone come and tell me about their meds than go and buy them from a co-op store where they have no idea what kind of dosage you need to take. “, Patel mentioned.
Studies, including one published in March 2022 by the New England Journal of Medicine, have shown that it is unclear how effective ivermectin is in relation to Covid19.
“Like Again, the amount of data we have. It seems the data is inconclusive and therefore we are unable to say that ivermectin definitely helps in the treatment of covid-19,” said Dr. Parul Goyal, assistant professor in the Department of Internal Medicine. and public health. at Vanderbilt.
Vanderbilt is conducting a covid 19 ivermectin treatment trial.
“So our trial is funded by the National Institutes of Health, in which we aim to study some of the repurposed drugs for the treatment of outpatient COVID-19. The name of the trial is called active six, and we’re basically studying three drugs. ivermectin, fluticasone and fluvoxamine,” said Dr. Goyal.
The trial began recruiting patients in September 2021.
“We’ve actually been very successful in recruiting patients, and we’ve been able to complete two study arms in which patient improvement has been achieved. However, we added another arm to the trial, in which we added a high dose of ivermectin to this study arm. So we have two arms that are still open and actively recruiting patients,” Dr. Goyal said.
Giyal said ivermectin has been around for several years and is sold in places like tractor supply stores, usually for farm animals to treat for parasitic infections. She said ivermectin is available in other countries and is used to treat parasitic infections in humans.
“Ivermectin doses are very different,” Goyal said.
Goyal said taking ivermectin unsupervised can be dangerous.
“There are a lot of side effects of ivermectin in patients who took it unattended, such as nausea, diarrhea, itching, eczema, swollen lymph nodes, it hides all those side effects,” Dr. Goyal said. .
“The reason why this [Ivermectin Bill] is okay to pass, it’s because it’s about patient safety and people, no matter what they hear, no matter what studies are in front of them, they’re not ready to believe it “said Patel. “Where people will believe what they want to believe. So instead of asking people to take whatever dose they want,” she added.
News 4 asked Dr. Goyal what she advises people as ivermectin is on the verge of no longer needing a prescription.
“Since the ivermectin data from our trial is still pending, you know, I would say until we get scientific data to support the use of ivermectin for the treatment of COVID-19 I would be hesitant for anyone to take it without proper supervision,” Dr. Goyal said.
Goyal also reminds people that there are approved drugs to treat COVID-19 that are available.
The state legislature provides certain protections for pharmacists. The bill says, “the pharmacist or the prescriber in good faith is exempt from disciplinary sanctions or civil liability”.
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