WESTBORO (CBS) — Perched along Route 9 in Westboro, there’s a billboard advertising Hopkinton Drug’s ample supply of human Ivermectin.
“I think it’s unethical,” said Dr. Michael Grodin, a medical ethics professor at Boston University. “It’s suggesting treatments that are not true. There’s no evidence it’s effective for COVID.”
The CDC said prescriptions for Ivermectin, which is used to treat parasites, have skyrocketed with people using the medication for COVID-19. The drug has risen from a national average of 3,600 prescriptions per week before the pandemic to more than 88,000 per week in August of 2021. Those numbers recently prompted the CDC and the FDA to warn that the medication is not approved to treat or prevent COVID-19 and could actually be dangerous.
“First, because it’s not effective and second, it could cause severe gastrointestinal disorders. It can also lead to people ending up with organ damage and being hospitalized and potentially dying,” Chief of Infectious Diseases at Brigham and Women’s hospital Dr. Daniel Kuritzkes said.
The FDA told the I-Team it has already received several reports of patients being hospitalized after using the drug. And the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said calls to Poison Control Centers have spiked with people looking for help after taking animal Ivermectin, which is only approved for veterinary use.
There are a number of clinical trials on the use of Ivermectin to treat COVID, but so far, the results are mixed.
As for Hopkinton Drug advertising its supply contains human Ivermectin — “There’s a clear question, it should be addressed to the board of pharmacy,” said Dr. Grodin. “Obviously, they say they have an abundance because they hope and expect people will come in and try to use it, that’s is feeding into unethical nature of using drugs that have not proven to be safe and effective.”
The I-Team made several attempts to speak to the owner of Hopkinton Drug, but they did not respond to our repeated requests for comment. The Department of Health told WBZ-TV it told the pharmacy to take down the billboard and opened an investigation into its compounding license.