LITTLE ROCK, Ark. — Four inmates at a northwest Arkansas jail have filed a lawsuit after they said they were unknowingly prescribed an anti-parasitic drug to treat their COVID-19.
The American Civil Liberties Union on Thursday filed the lawsuit against the Washington County jail, Sheriff Tim Helder and jail physician Dr. Robert Karas.
Helder, in August, revealed that ivermectin had been prescribed to inmates to treat their COVID-19. According to CBS News, the inmates were told that the drugs were "vitamins," "antibiotics," and/or "steroids."
"The truth, however, was that without knowing and voluntary consent, Plaintiffs ingested incredibly high doses of a drug that credible medical professionals, the FDA, and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, all agree is not an effective treatment against COVID-19," the lawsuit says.
“No one - including incarcerated individuals - should be deceived and subject to medical experimentation. Sheriff Helder has a responsibility to provide food, shelter, and safe, appropriate care to incarcerated individuals," Gary Sullivan, legal director of the ACLU of Arkansas, said in a statement Thursday.
Ivermectin is approved for use by people and animals for some parasitic worms, head lice and skin conditions. The drug is not approved for treating COVID-19, and the CDC and the FDA have both repeatedly warned against the use of the drug outside of a clinical setting.