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South Dakota House OKs bill saying parasite-killing drug can be prescribed to humans

While state law already allows ivermectin to be prescribed by doctors to be used off-label, legislators say such a bill is necessary to redouble this right. The medical community has mostly opposed taking ivermectin as a COVID therapeutic.

FSA South Dakota capitol

PIERRE, S.D. — Supporters of ivermectin as a drug to treat COVID-19 won on a new frontier Monday, Feb. 14, in the South Dakota Legislature.

Lawmakers in the House of Representatives passed a bill specifying that the drug could be legally prescribed in the state. The bill was despite the largely held opinion of the medical community that ivermectin is not an appropriate drug to treat COVID-19.

The bill, House Bill 1267 , is largely a symbolic bill akin to a resolution, as the drug approved by the FDA to fight intestinal worms can already be prescribed by doctors in the state.

But a vocal supporter, Rep. Taffy Howard, R-Rapid City, cast the bill as a medical freedom option that reaffirms doctors who she believes are hesitant to treat COVID-19 with ivermectin because of a negative stigma or fear or retribution from the medical community or hospital administrators.

"It's a drug, just like any other drug that's out there," said Howard. "This is legislation ensuring doctors have the freedom to ... treat their [patients] best."

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The association representing the state's doctors opposed the bill last week in committee, noting ivermectin is a drug with little, if any use to fight COVID-19. The FDA, similar to ivermectin's manufacturer, have encouraged COVID-19 vaccinations to fight the coronavirus.

Ivermectin is largely used in the U.S. to treat worms in livestock. But many individuals have become convinced that ivermectin is an appropriate therapeutic for COVID-19.

Unlike the bill that passed out of the House Health and Human Services Committee last week, the version of HB 1267 that received a 40-28 vote on Monday was amended to still require a doctor's prescription.

Rep. Paul Miskimins, R-Mitchell, again on Monday railed against the bill as he did in committee as "not a good bill."

"I would ask you to put your trust in the FDA or our Board of Pharmacy," said Miskimins. "Please do not support this attack on the integrity of our health care system."

The bill now proceeds to the Senate.

Christopher Vondracek is the South Dakota correspondent for Forum News Service. Contact Vondracek at cvondracek@forumcomm.com , or follow him on Twitter: @ChrisVondracek .

MORE FROM CHRISTOPHER VONDRACEK:
The state's biggest political leaders have touted inbound migration, so-called "blue state refugees" who flooded South Dakota. But the biggest driver of partisan races this coming summer and fall appears to be a redistricting process, log-jamming Republicans in primaries and opening up new turf for Democrats.

Christopher Vondracek covers South Dakota news for Forum News Service. Email him at cvondracek@forumcomm.com or follow him on Twitter at @ChrisVondracek.
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