Tennessee Gov. Bill Lee on Wednesday signed into state law a measure to allow people to more easily obtain ivermectin to treat COVID-19, without needing a doctor’s prescription.
The bill, SB 2188 (pdf), authorizes a pharmacist to provide ivermectin to a patient aged 18 or older, “pursuant to a collaborative pharmacy practice agreement containing a non-patient-specific prescriptive order, developed and executed by one or more authorized prescribers.”
The new measure requires the Board of Pharmacy to establish procedures for providing the patients with a screening risk assessment tool, providing a standardized factsheet, and providing ivermectin or a referral to a pharmacy that dispenses ivermectin.
Under the new law, a pharmacist in Tennessee can charge an administrative fee for services associated with dispensing ivermectin.
The bill’s summary says that the amendment also “provides that a pharmacist or prescriber acting in good faith and with reasonable care involved in the provision of ivermectin under this amendment is immune from disciplinary or adverse administrative actions for acts or omissions during the provision of ivermectin.”
“Also, a pharmacist or prescriber involved in the provision of ivermectin under this amendment will be immune from civil liability in the absence of gross negligence or willful misconduct for actions authorized by provisions of this amendment,” it adds.
The Tennessee Senate voted 66-20 and the House voted 22-6 in favor of the measure.
State Sen. Frank Niceley, a Republican who was one of the sponsors of the bill, previously told The Epoch Times, “It’s one of the most important bills we’ve passed this year.”
“The bill would put it behind the counter with a consultation, which means you would explain your symptoms to the pharmacist, fill out a sheet listing your preexisting conditions and what other medication you’re on in order for the pharmacist to determine the right dosage,” Niceley said.
Niceley told The Epoch Times that the bill seeks to make ivermectin safer so that people won’t risk getting the wrong dose by resorting to buying farm-grade veterinary horse de-wormer.
“Medical professionals such as Dr. Robert Malone, Dr. Ryan Cole, Dr. Richard Urso, Dr. Pierre Kory, Dr. John Little, and many others worked diligently to educate Tennessee lawmakers about this effective drug,” Liberty Counsel, an international group that advocates for religious freedom, said in a statement announcing the news.
Similarly, in New Hampshire, the Senate committee has approved a bill on Wednesday to make ivermectin more easily available at pharmacies by standing order, after the House approved the measure in March. A vote on the Senate floor is expected in May.
Ivermectin, a generic medicine widely used against some parasitic worms as well as to treat scabies, lice, and rosacea in humans, has been praised by some doctors as a life-saving early treatment for COVID-19.
William Campbell and Satoshi Omura in 2015 won the Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine for the discovery and applications of ivermectin. The World Health Organization features ivermectin on its List of Essential Medicines. It is also approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) as an antiparasitic agent.
At least two groups, the Front Line COVID-19 Critical Care Alliance and the British Ivermectin Recommendation Development Group, have advocated for the off-label use of ivermectin for COVID-19. There are at least 82 studies, of which 62 are peer-reviewed, on the treatment of COVID-19 with ivermectin, most of which show a benefit to the medicine, including in speeding recovery and reducing the risk of hospitalization and death.
While over 20 countries have adopted ivermectin for use to treat COVID-19, the FDA has not approved the drug to treat or prevent COVID-19 in humans.