The continued refusal of pharmacists nationwide to fill prescriptions for controversial COVID medications has raised questions over medical autonomy and who ultimately has control over patient care, according to a prominent doctor.
Dr. Mary Talley Bowden, a practitioner and founder of Coalition of Health Freedom, told The Epoch Times that many pharmacists nationwide are still refusing to fill prescriptions issued for ivermectin issued to patients for the treatment of COVID, despite statements from the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) affirming that right to doctors.
Dr. Mary Talley Bowden.
(Courtesy of Epoch Times)
“This needs to come to an end. In telling my patients what medicines they can and cannot have access to, we effectively have a large group of pharmacists practicing medicine without a license,” said Dr. Bowden. “They have no accountability for this yet they are allowed to dictate patient care.”
“I see it every single day. Enough is enough,” Dr. Bowden added.
Ivermectin has been around for decades but became the center of controversy in 2020 after medical opinion became divided over its effectiveness as a treatment for COVID. In the aftermath, many pharmacists refused to fill prescriptions for the medication.
By 2023, the issue had made its way into a courtroom when on Aug. 8 a lawyer representing the FDA confirmed that doctors were free to prescribe ivermectin to treat COVID.
“FDA explicitly recognizes that doctors do have the authority to prescribe ivermectin to treat COVID,” Ashley Cheung Honold, a Department of Justice lawyer representing the FDA, told the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 5th Circuit.
The government lawyer made the statement in defense of the FDA’s repeated calls for people to not take ivermectin for COVID. The FDA on Aug. 21, 2021, wrote on X, formerly known as Twitter: “You are not a horse. You are not a cow. Seriously, y’all. Stop it.”
On Aug. 17, the FDA issued clarification, this time stating that while it had approved ivermectin for certain uses in humans and animals, it had not issued any statement affirming the safety or effectiveness of the drug for treating COVID. However, the agency again affirmed that it would be left to individual doctors whether or not to prescribe the medication for the treatment of COVID.
“Health care professionals generally may choose to prescribe an approved human drug for an unapproved use when they judge that the unapproved use is medically appropriate for an individual patient,” the FDA said.
The National Institutes of Health COVID-19 treatment guidelines recommend against using ivermectin for COVID treatment, citing a purported lack of evidence supporting its effectiveness. Other studies have found ivermectin to be effective.
Dr. Bowden, who is one of three plaintiffs in the case, had hoped the FDA’s acknowledgment would have put an end to the objections at the pharmacist counter. However, earlier this week another one of her patients who she had been treating was refused service.
Complicating the situation, the patient was elderly and couldn’t easily access other options and in the time, it took to find a pharmacy that would honor the prescription the patient’s health began to deteriorate, according to Dr. Bowden.
“It’s hard to believe, but pharmacists are still blocking these potentially life-saving medications,” said Dr. Bowden. “The pharmacist didn’t talk to the patient and won’t know if the patient lives or dies yet had control of his care.”
Dr. Bowden believes that in most cases individual pharmacists aren’t the ones to blame and are often carrying out orders from corporate leadership. However, claims to have seen examples where pharmacists prevented her patients from getting their medication as a result of their own “personal agenda.”
“It’s an outrage. I would have thought we were beyond this, but it continues to happen,” said Dr. Bowden.
If this newfound power isn’t checked, it could lead down a slippery slope that diminishes patient’s rights, according to Dr. Bowden.
“Prior to COVID, I never had a pharmacist refuse a prescription. This is a new phenomenon, and it needs to come to an end. This is going beyond their role and it’s a dangerous trend,” said Dr. Bowden.
Sen. Ron Johnson (R-Wis.), believes that the widespread denial of ivermectin could have resulted in untold COVID deaths.
“The doctors I’ve been dealing with and talking to for years now, they believe that probably hundreds of thousands of Americans lost their lives because they were denied early treatment and they were denied because the FDA sabotaged, for example, ivermectin,” Mr. Johnson told FOX News on Aug. 11.
“We are going down a very dangerous path, but it’s a path that is being laid out and planned by an elite group of people that want to take total control over our lives, and that’s what they’re doing bit by bit,” he added.