The news that the medical provider for the Washington County jail is prescribing ivermectin for inmates has gone worldwide and the coverage isn’t flattering.

Here, for example, is the Washington Post rundown.


The medicine use in the jail is voluntary, but its use runs counter to the weight of medical opinion. CORRECTION: Additional reporting by the Democrat-Gazette Friday indicates inmates were being given a number of pills including Ivermectin, not knowing that’s what they were receiving.

Again, there IS a formulation of ivermectin suitable for use by humans, as opposed to the large animal compounds that many, including Arkansas legislators, have been ingesting. The animal version is very dangerous, the FDA says. But it also warns about the use of the human version of the drug.


The FDA says this about the off-label use of ivermectin manufactured for humans:

  • FDA has not approved ivermectin for use in treating or preventing COVID-19 in humans. Ivermectin tablets are approved at very specific doses for some parasitic worms, and there are topical (on the skin) formulations for head lice and skin conditions like rosacea. Ivermectin is not an anti-viral (a drug for treating viruses).

  • Taking large doses of this drug is dangerous and can cause serious harm.

  • If you have a prescription for ivermectin for an FDA-approved use, get it from a legitimate source and take it exactly as prescribed.

  • Never use medications intended for animals on yourself. Ivermectin preparations for animals are very different from those approved for humans.

There’s scant evidence the off-label use is effective for COVID-19 (save a challenged  study debunked here). And you know that drug companies like to make money, right? Consider this:


Even Merck, an ivermectin manufacturer, avers that there is “no meaningful evidence for clinical activity or efficacy in patients with Covid-19.”

Don’t tell it to the Facebook drug experts of Arkansas.

Chris Jones, the Democratic candidate for governor, jumped into the worm medicine fray today, blasting the use in Washington County (albeit a human-designed form being used off label):

Chris Jones, Democratic candidate for Governor of Arkansas, called on the Washington County Sheriff’s Office to end the highly unethical use of ivermectin in its detention centers. Ivermectin is not an antiviral drug nor a proven method to combat COVID-19 in infected patients; it is a drug most commonly used to treat parasites in livestock.

“This use of ivermectin in our prison system is dangerous, cruel and must stop immediately,” said Dr. Chris Jones. “These are human beings, made in the likeness of God. They are not animals, and should not be treated as such.”

“Any serious candidate for Governor, including Sarah Huckabee Sanders, should condemn this practice. This is not a debate that a leader in good conscience can back out of. Leaders face hard questions and stand up for what is right and decent. They know that inmates are someone’s children, parents, siblings and friends. Surely we can all agree that any human deserves better than this. Sadly, this poor health care decision is a consequence of misinformation and conspiracy theories, which are the results of those who seek to divide us.”

On Tuesday evening, Washington County Sheriff Tim Helder confirmed to the Quorum Court that Karas Correctional Health, the county’s medical provider for the Detention Center, is treating COVID-19 patients with ivermectin. The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has not approved ivermectin for treatment of COVID-19 and has warned improper use of this drug is “dangerous” and “can cause serious harm.”




The state Medical Board, responding to news reports, plans to review use of the drug in Washington County.