Nebraska Attorney General Doug Peterson on Friday issued a 48-page opinion in which he said that medical professionals who prescribe unproven or controversial treatments for COVID will not face disciplinary actions as long as they obtain the informed consent of their patients. The opinion underscored the importance of life-saving yet affordable drugs such as ivermectin and hydroxychloroquine for COVID, but will also likely apply to other "off-label" treatments for the illness.
The Lincoln Journal Star reported that Peterson's opinion paper, which was signed by himself and two other staff, mentions "significant controversy and suspect information about COVID-19 treatments." As an example, it pointed to an article published last year in The Lancet, a British medical journal that found no benefit from hydroxychloroquine. However, the article was retracted due to alleged fraud by the principal authors.
"We find that the available data does not justify filing disciplinary actions against physicians simply because they prescribe ivermectin or hydroxychloroquine to prevent or treat COVID-19," because of conflicting data on these types of treatments, the opinion said. The Nebraska AG's opinion was ordered by the state's Department of Health and Human Services, which declined to specify the reason why it sought the opinion.
The Nebraska Department of Health and Human Services said however, that it "appreciates the AG's office delivering an opinion on this matter. The document is posted and available to medical providers as they determine appropriate course of treatment for their patients."
In the legal opinion, Peterson raised the question as to why pharmaceutical company Merck, who holds the original patent of ivermectin opposes their very own drug due to "concerning lack of safety data in the majority of studies," NOQ Report said.
The Nebraska AG claims that Merck knows ivermectin is safe to use in COVID patients but refuses to recommend it because it may no longer be under patent and they could not profit from it anymore.
Peterson also accused Merck of price gouging its latest COVID treatment offering called molnupiravir, which is believed to be close in composition to ivermectin. Merck stands to earn billions from the new drug once it is approved, as it already has a price tag of $1.2 billion for 1.7 million courses purchased by the U.S. government.
Meanwhile, Peterson also backed hydroxychloroquine as a key treatment for COVID. He cited a 2004 lab study on hydroxychloroquine's less toxic derivative of chloroquine for the treatment of malaria. The study revealed that chloroquine was "an effective inhibitor of the replication of the severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus (SARS-CoV) in vitro" and should "be considered for immediate use in the prevention and treatment of SARS-CoV infections."
The Nebraska AG decried how the media fueled "confsion and misinformation" about ivermectin and hydroxychloroquine and how the Centers of Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) themselves have adopted a negative stance towards such safe, effective, and affordable treatments despite being unsupported by scientific evidence stating otherwise.