BALTIMORE (AP) — A Maryland congressman who is a practicing anesthesiologist said on a radio show that he prescribed a medication typically used to treat parasites in livestock and humans as a treatment for COVID-19.
Republican Rep. Andy Harris, who represents Maryland's 1st District, made the comments during a call-in radio program that he and his wife, Nicole, co-hosted last month on WCBM, an AM radio station in the Baltimore area, The Washington Post reported. However, Harris said on the program that he couldn’t find a pharmacist who would fill it.
“It’s gotten bad. ... The pharmacists are just refusing to fill it," Harris said on the “Casey & Company” show on Sept. 17. He was responding to a call from a 63-year-old man who said he and his 56-year-old wife had opted not to be vaccinated. The caller said he wanted to use ivermectin a couple of times a week to boost his immune system but his doctor objected.
“You can go all the doctor-shopping you want; I don’t think you’re going to find a pharmacist to fill the prescription. That’s the problem,” Harris said, adding that national pharmacy organizations are “saying pharmacies shouldn’t do it. It’s ridiculous.”
The Food and Drug Administration has not approved ivermectin to treat or prevent COVID-19 and has warned people to avoid the drug. Merck, the manufacturer of ivermectin, has said there is no indication the drug is safe or effective against COVID-19.
Also on the program, Harris expressed opposition to both mask and vaccine mandates, specifically asking “whether masks do anything.”
Earlier this year, Harris was outspoken in support of coronavirus vaccines, even appearing at community centers to administer shots himself. But he subsequently encouraged parents not to allow their children to be vaccinated until the vaccines received full approval for children from the FDA.
Harris wrote letters to the University System of Maryland and Republican Gov. Larry Hogan earlier this year asking them to suspend vaccine mandates on campuses, citing concerns about exceedingly rare side effects associated with Moderna and Pfizer vaccines.