Ethical Questions Raised Over Pharmacists Refusing to Fill Ivermectin Prescriptions

( – Generally speaking, when one is feeling unwell they can take a trip to their primary care physician in order to find out what’s going on. If the doctor discovers something like an ear infection or the flu, they may write a prescription for an antibiotic or an antiviral medication.

The next step is to get the doctor’s direction to a pharmacist — essentially the keeper of the keys for all the drugs — who counts out the correct dosage at the strength the doctor prescribed. However, in recent years, pharmacists have refused to comply with the doctor’s directive for a number of different reasons for several different drugs.


This medicine is approved for issues in humans by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) as an antiparasitic drug, but not for the treatment or prevention of the virus that triggered the worldwide pandemic that first appeared in 2019. In early 2020, former President Donald Trump contracted the disease and was given this medicine to fight it, and he contends that it was a driving factor in his recovery.

Unfortunately, this brought the targeting scope of partisan politics squarely onto ivermectin, with Senator Dr. Rand Paul, MD (R-KY) telling a group of his constituents that “the hatred for Trump deranged these people so much, that they’re unwilling to objectively study it.” It’s possible that the ensuing battle between the Left and the Right with social media platforms removing any pro-ivermectin content has contributed to the current controversy of pharmacists refusing to fill patients’ prescriptions.

In an exclusive interview with The Epoch Times, Dr. Mary Talley Bowden expressed the opinion that “we effectively have a large group of pharmacists practicing medicine without a license [allowing them] to dictate patient care.” This comes after an FDA lawyer confirmed that doctors have the right to prescribe a medication “off label” in testimony in open court on August 8. One recent and well-publicized example of this practice has doctors prescribing the diabetes management drug Ozempic for their patients to use strictly for weight loss.

Lawsuits making their way through federal courts have resulted in conflicting rulings among the different United States Courts of Appeals. A three-judge panel in the Eighth Circuit handed down a decision on August 7 affirming the lower court’s ruling that pharmacists at Walmart and Hy-Vee were within their rights to refuse to fill a script for ivermectin. On the other hand, a trio of judges in the Fifth Circuit reversed the judgment rendered by the Southern District of Texas and is allowing a suit against the FDA to proceed, because the agency crossed the line into giving medical advice even though “FDA is not a physician.”

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