Wisconsin doctors ask Sen. Johnson to stop push for Ivermectin as COVID-19 cure

MADISON, Wis. (CBS 58) -- Wisconsin physicians gathered virtually to ask Senator Ron Johnson to stop pushing Ivermectin as a cure for COVID-19 on Monday, Aug. 30.

According to Committee to Protect Health Care, formerly known as the Committee to Protect Medicare, state physicians also asked Johnson to stop discouraging trust in the vaccine. 

The calls from state physicians come as hospitals are filling up with nearly 88% of hospital beds in Wisconsin full.

“As not just a physician but also a resident of Wisconsin, it’s shocking and appalling that any grown person, let alone our elected senator, would promote Ivermectin as a treatment for COVID-19,” said Dr. Bob Freedland, MD, Wisconsin State Lead for the Committee to Protect Health Care and an ophthalmologist practicing in La Crosse. “To be quite clear, Ivermectin is a drug used to deworm livestock, and researchers haven't found it to have the benefits against COVID-19 that some like Johnson try to claim it has. Senator Ron Johnson, if you really want to save lives from COVID-19, please stop horsing around and start promoting measures that actually work, like masks and vaccines.”

According to Committee to Protect Health Care, Johnson tweeted a piece written by Dr. Pierre Kory on Aug. 20, which advocated for using Ivermectin in COVID-19 cases. Officials say Wisconsin residents have been calling the Wisconsin Poison Center about Ivermectin at a significantly higher rate than last year with side effects like nausea, diarrhea, and vomiting. 

“It shames me to see our senator pushing false cures and conspiracy theories when we know how to prevent this disease,” said Dr. Rebecca Beach, a family medicine physician in Richland Center. “Physicians in Wisconsin and across the country have been working overtime for the past year and a half to treat COVID and to try to figure out how to best deal with it when someone does fall ill, including using ventilators when they are needed to save lives — when they sometimes are the only thing that can save a life. Sen. Johnson, who is not a doctor, is trying to undermine this work, and I find that frustrating beyond belief. Of course, no doctor wants a patient to have to be put on a ventilator, but unlike Senator Johnson, we want to do what has to be done to save lives, not just save our political bases.”

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