Letters & Opinion

The Ivermectin Conundrum

Image of Earl Bousquet
By Earl Bousquet

I’ve been following the local Ivermectin story close-enough, particularly since the book was thrown at a local doctor for prescribing and promoting it as an alternative to the COVID-19 drugs recognized by the World Health Organization (WHO).

The activism is admirable, but I am yet to be convinced that Ivermectin is a better saver of COVID lives than any of those approved by the world’s leading health organization, to which every country belongs, having signed-up to the membership rules that bind them to do – and NOT do – certain things.

With social media support translated to social actions like signing of petitions and making out-of-the-ordinary demands (like the hearings into her case before the Medical Council be ‘broadcast live’) and thinking the government should simply adopt Ivermectin because they (Dr Gilbertha St Rose and her supporters) say so, or believe it should be done.

Having been in the business of activism for over four decades, one of the first lessons I learned is that while you may know what you are promoting is better than what exists, getting your way requires overcoming certain obstacles that remain the same in every situation, like in every relay race involving hurdles or passing-of-batons.

One key hurdle is understanding that undoing bad laws or ‘ole vibes’ is not a overnight affair, otherwise so much would have been changed in so little time – like decriminalization of cannabis, or acceptance that cigarettes are cancerous, or that alcohol takes more lives than marijuana, or that more police officers are dying from COVID than in the line of duty.

I have ‘Nuff Respect’ for most of those promoting Ivermectin, including the doctors who will not even care to identify themselves, for whatever reasons.

I heard a believable proponent explain there’s nothing wrong Ivermectin working for both people and animals, citing an over-the-counter liquid drug given to pet dogs (for the equivalent of abortion effects) that also works for humans.

I know what he meant, because when my dad used to send me (as an early teen) to purchase Zentel at Williams’ Pharmacy on Bridge Street in Castries (where the Lamar building now stands) so I could give the dosages to our Dalmatian hound ‘Spot’ myself, the ladies behind the counter would tell me ‘You can’t fool us…’

I’ve seen and read almost all the Ivermectin crowd has had to offer and while a lot of it is impressive – from its use in India to being embraced by the Government of El Salvador and 19 others worldwide – I am still yet to be convinced that I should not be minded by the WHO’s explained reluctance to approve it to fight COVID-19.

The WHO says tests are so far inclusive and more proof is needed to give Ivermectin global approval and I would like to believe there is a health reason (instead of political or commercial ones) as being advanced by those who say the world body is simply in the pockets of those manufacturing the approved drugs.

Gimme a break…

I do not have counter-reasons to doubt the claim that Ivermectin cured a COVID state in India, but I would only wonder why the Indian government has not adopted it and made it mandatory?

I also know that 20 governments have decided to show the WHO the middle finger and adopted Ivermectin, but there are still well-over over 150 nations belonging to the WHO, who don’t agree to disregard the WHO’s counsel.

I don’t doubt the claim that the BIG Pharma producers would like to have a permanent stranglehold on the COVID medicine market after having successfully been allowed to make shortcuts in the clinical trials stages to fast-track the finding of a cure.

COVID-19 being only the latest in a long line of corona viruses meant some research had already gone into finding a cure, which is why Moderna and Oxford-AstraZeneca proposed vaccine cures within days of the WHO confirming the existence of COVID-19 in March 2020.

Ivermectin having been around for quite some time, clinical information also existed on the likeliness and differences of its use to humans and animals, but the bottom line is that the WHO, the world’s authority on public health issues, says we need more time to gather more evidence.

Understandably, promoters of Ivermectin seem to believe that because they know or feel they are right, the Ministry of Health and Wellness should simply dis and dump the WHO’s advice and do what it says not to do, simply because the voices supporting Ivermectin happen to be louder than the many, many more who are simply still confused as to which vaccine to trust – and whether they should trust a medicine that works as well for humans as it does for animals.

Interestingly, what the Ivermectin lobby is facing is precisely what the pro-vaccine lobby is facing: feeling and/or knowing that vaccines work, but being told they don’t, no matter how much evidence is provided.

Same with those who won’t vaccinate simply because they’ve been led to believe that there’s something fishy in the needle – the same people who have taken every other injection at hospital and health centers all their lives, without question.

Same too with those who insisted on selling alcohol on the so-called ‘black market’ during Prohibition, based on its popularity.

My Ivermectin friends simply need to ask Andre ‘Pancho’ DeCaires of the Cannabis Movement what he felt like demonstrating every year and how he feels now after a life of doing exactly what they are doing now.

Victories don’t come overnight, but this is no race and if they are to convince people to do the right thing, the Ivermectin lobby is doing the wrong thing by starting-off on the wrong foot, demanding the government break laws Saint Lucia signed-up to since February 22, 1979.

My latest information is that Dr St. Roses’ lawyers and the Medical Council are talking ‘mediation’.

Now, that I think is a good start…

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