The judge will not file a lawsuit alleging ivermectin in the Arkansas prison


FAYETTEVILLE, Ark. – A federal judge has refused to dismiss a lawsuit alleging that inmates at an Arkansas prison were given the drug ivermectin to fight COVID-19 without their knowledge.

The lawsuit alleges that inmates at the Washington County Jail in Fayetteville had received ivermectin as early as November 2020 but were unaware of it as of July 2021. Ivermectin is approved by the Food and Drug Administration to fight parasitic infestations, such as intestinal worms and head lice, and some skin conditions, such as rosacea. It is not and was not then approved for the treatment of COVID-19.

U.S. District Judge Timothy L. Brooks ruled Thursday that the lawsuit could proceed, saying Dr. Robert Karas used inmates for an experiment, The Northwest Arkansas Democrat-Gazette reported.

Plaintiffs in the case include Edrick Floreal-Wooten, Jeremiah Little, Julio Gonzales, Thomas Fritch and Dayman Blackburn. The case was filed last year by the American Civil Liberties Union against Karas, Karas Correctional Health, former Washington County Sheriff Tim Helder and the Washington County Detention Center.

In a written statement, Brooks said Karas had started conducting his own research and hypothesized that the drug could be an effective treatment for COVID-19.

Karas prescribed ivermectin to two groups of subjects. The first consisted of people who used Karas’ services at his private medical clinic and agreed to take ivermectin as part of an experimental treatment for COVID-19, Brooks noted. The second group consisted of inmates held in prison.

“The inmates received the treatment protocol from Dr. Karas for COVID-19 but didn’t know it contained ivermectin,” Brooks wrote. “Dr. Karas and his staff falsely told inmates the treatment consisted solely of “vitamins,” “antibiotics,” and/or “steroids.” Crucially, the inmates had no idea they were part of Dr. Karas’ experiment were.”

Because inmates were never told their “treatments” contained ivermectin, they were never warned about the drug’s side effects, Brooks said. Side effects of the drug include rash, nausea, and vomiting, according to the FDA.

Additionally, Karas hypothesized that large doses of ivermectin would be most effective in fighting COVID-19. The problem, however, was that the FDA had only approved a dosage of 0.2 mg/kg to treat worms, according to Brooks. Karas eventually prescribed lower doses of ivermectin to his clinic patients and higher doses to his incarcerated patients.

“On the face of it, it seems highly unlikely – even implausible – that a physician would have administered an experimental drug to his incarcerated patients more aggressively than to his private patients, but plaintiffs cite evidence in their prison medical records,” Brooks wrote.

Brooks also said it’s possible that Helder knew or should have known that Karas was conducting ivermectin experiments on inmates without her knowledge based on Karas’ posts on social media and that he condoned, condoned, or turned a blind eye to this violation of their rights .

“The detainees had no idea they were part of a medical experiment,” Gary Sullivan, legal director of the Arkansas ACLU, said in a news release Friday. “Sheriff Helder and Dr. In their motion to dismiss, Karas routinely mischaracterized the fundamental nature of the plaintiffs’ claims by refusing to identify key allegations in the lawsuit.”

Brooks noted that Karas is not entitled to the immunity that protects states and local governments from harm from harm unless they violate the constitution. Brooks said Karas and his clinic applied for and won a county contract to provide health care to hundreds of inmates in prison for many years at a cost of more than $1.3 million a year.

Brooks also said the inmates made a plausible allegation of assault because Karas intentionally withheld the details of a treatment in order to lure a captive audience into taking a particular drug for their own professional and personal gain.


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