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- Inmates in an Arkansas jail say they were experimentally given Ivermectin to treat COVID-19 without their knowledge or consent.
- A doctor is under investigation for prescribing the anti-parasite drug commonly used on animals, CBS News reported.
- The inmates were initially told the pills, which were actually Ivermectin, were antibiotics and vitamins.
Multiple Arkansas inmates reported that, unbeknownst to them, they were given Ivermectin to treat COVID-19. The jail physician who prescribed the drugs is now under investigation by the state medical board.
Several inmates from the Washington County jail said they were told the pills they were given to treat COVID-19 were antibiotics, steroids, and vitamins.
“We were running fevers, throwing up, diarrhea … and so we figured that they were here to help us,” Edrick Floreal-Wooten, an inmate at the jail, told CBS News. “We never knew that they were running experiments on us, giving us ivermectin. We never knew that.”
They found out it was actually Ivermectin five days later when news reports broke last month that Dr. Rob Karas was prescribing the anti-parasitic to inmates. At that point, the jail nurses started asking the inmates whether they consented to take the pills when offered. Several did not, Floreal-Wooten told CBS.
“They used us as an experiment, like we’re livestock,” Floreal-Wooten, 29, said. “Just because we wear stripes, and we make a few mistakes in life, doesn’t make us less of a human. We got families, we got loved ones out there that love us.”
Karas, who is under investigation by the Arkansas state medical board, said the inmates took the drugs willingly, which the detainees have disputed, CBS reported. A spokesperson from the jail did not immediately return Insider’s request for comment.
The FDA has reported multiple hospitalizations for people who have self-medicated with the drug.
“The FDA has not authorized or approved ivermectin for the treatment or prevention of COVID-19 in people or animals. Ivermectin has not been shown to be safe or effective for these indications,” the agency warned. “There’s a lot of misinformation around, and you may have heard that it’s okay to take large doses of ivermectin. It is not okay.”
While Karas could not be reached for comment, he provided a written statement to KNWA last month. He cited “in-vitro and controlled studies as well as a significant amount of anecdotal evidence” as indications that Ivermectin is a treatment for COVID-19.
“In late 2020, we began what I consider compassionate use of Ivermectin as part of a comprehensive plan of care for both clinic and jail patients who had become significantly sick from COVID,” Karas wrote. “In my medical judgment, weighing the known risks and side effect profile of Ivermectin against the potential benefits supports the administration of Ivermectin (which we obtained from a licensed pharmacist in dosages and compounds formulated for humans) to COVID-19 patients.”
The American Civil Liberties Union of Arkansas has called on the jail to stop prescribing the drug “immediately,” AP News reported.