Washington Medical Commission Can Now Discipline Doctors Who Spread COVID-19 Misinformation
Doctors and medical assistants who spread misinformation about COVID-19 in Washington could face disciplinary action. This is after actions taken this week by the Washington Medical Commission, which monitors and enforces the licenses of about 34,000 doctors and medical assistants here.
At a special meeting, the committee formally adopted a position statement to this effect. Commissioners unanimously agreed that treatment for COVID-19 should meet the same standards of care as other illnesses.
This is after reports of an increase in dangerous alternative treatments such as ivermectin, an antiparasitic drug often used in animals. It has off-label approval for human use in limited circumstances, but the CDC and FDA say there is no convincing evidence that it works to prevent or treat COVID-19.
Despite this, some local grocery stores have received so many inquiries about the drug – with people often openly stating that they want to use it in place of a vaccine to stop the coronavirus – that clerks have special instructions for conducting detailed questions before selling ivermectin.
The higher doses used for livestock can be particularly harmful to human health. Ivermectin is known to cause harmful side effects ranging from rashes to seizures and liver damage.
Lake Forest Park research scientist Dr. Yanling Yu is a public member of the panel. She initially worried about following state law that protects alternative medicine, but later spoke in favor of the position statement on disinformation.
“There is no good science at all. … Like ivermectin, there have been patients who have been injured by it. It is therefore not a scientific practice of medicine. And it must be stopped, ”Yu said.
Dr Harlan Gallinger agreed. He’s an emergency doctor, representing Sammamish on the commission. He urged his fellow commissioners to take action because, he says, the proliferation of disinformation has effects that go far beyond the patients involved alone.
“We are on the front lines and we continue to be bombarded and overwhelmed by patients who are not vaccinated and, I think, in large part because of misinformation. And I believe we should stand up for the practice of medicine, ”Gallinger said.
The commission has so far received at least eight complaints against doctors failing to meet the standards of care associated with ivermectin. These allegations are currently under investigation, according to a spokesperson for the medical commission.
Disciplinary measures can range from fines to license revocation if the perpetrator is found to be unable to rehabilitate.