On February 9th a prominent member of the medical establishment here came out in a very public manner in favor of ivermectin as a treatment for not only patients infected with SARS-CoV-2, the virus behind COVID-19, but also their caregivers. Reported in The Nikkei, a prominent Japanese economics and business focused publication, Haruo Ozaki, chairman of the Tokyo Medical Association, came out and recommended the emergency use of drugs such as Ivermectin administered to those COVID-19 patients, declaring they exhibit efficacy toward preventing disease progression in other nations. Clearly, Dr. Ozaki falls on the side of a rapidly growing group of physicians and researchers that align with significant meta-analyses involving dozens of randomized controlled trials, observational studies and case series around the world. Ozaki also calls out for Japan health authorities to use dexamethasone shown to help lower the death rate in certain more severe situations in hospitalized patients.
What’s Going On?
Although Marvin Gaye was taken away many years ago, the lyrics of perhaps his most remembered tune resonate in any generation confronting societal challenges, entrenched interests, inequality and systemic dysfunction. Has the pandemic exposed major elements of health inequity? Has politicos from across the ideological spectrum used this pandemic for what could be seen as special interests in the best case?
Western medical, government and journalistic establishments are resisting with all of their might that this low cost and effective drug might actually be a candidate for government support in research and emergency use authorization.
Evidence abounds that a growing resistance and recalcitrance to the facts on the ground only will worsen. Amounting to subtle or not so subtle forms of censorship, Facebook algorithms for example are now programmed to toss out those that link to factual ivermectin reports—such as the story that Slovakia health authorities approved the drugs.
What happened to just telling the truth—when was that a cause for demonetization from YouTube or getting the boot from Twitter? The big media companies don’t practice real journalism anymore or put another ways they seek the truth when it’s convenient for a particular angle, agenda, or financial proposition.
Reports that editors seeking to update Wikipedia find secretive, hidden master editors suppressing factual-based updates on that purportedly collective quasi-public knowledge base.
That the 60s and early 70s era Motown song could apply to now is unfortunately not sentimental nor reminiscent now that seemingly easier times have arrived. The great American pharmaceutical company, Merck issues a press release declaring that not only is there absolutely no evidence for ivermectin as applied to COVID-19, based on existing research, they completely dismiss dozens of studies led by dedicated, quality-committed researchers and physicians. But even more perplexing, their Marketing and Communications department issues a challenge to the safety of their own drug—one that they themselves in heroic form gave away billions of doses to developing nations in an overall successful effort to help nations fight parasites.
Meanwhile, the National Institutes of Health (NIH) via ACTIV continues to support billions of dollars of funding to various therapies to take on COVID-19 while mass vaccination efforts unfold. TrialSite has documented how billions pour into just a handful of vaccines and investigational therapies while the data for ivermectin mounts. TrialSite suggests a disturbing chasm in allocation of taxpayer dollars leads to what will become a call for an accounting at some point. The public research agency has an obligation to support pharmaceutical companies’ quest for novel therapeutics as well as repurposed generic ones—particularly in a public health crisis with nearly half-a-million people dead.
It’s actually quite apparent now that various societal forces don’t want to consider this economical, overall safe and apparently possibly an effective drug originally invented in Japan by Professor Satoshi Omura world renowned scientists and William Campbell both having received the Nobel Peace Prize for their involvement in the discovery of the drug.
Pharma a Force for Value & Hope
TrialSite acknowledges and celebrates that pharmaceutical companies have accomplished some heroic feats during this pandemic. The mRNA-based vaccine development represents a historical milestone. Agree or not with the remdesivir position, Gilead exhibited masterful scientific, research and business moves, the drug does reduce somewhat the duration of the condition and the company generated nearly $3 billion in just several months. Brilliant minds have mobilized for a breakthrough drug development imperative.
TrialSite supports the generation of wealth that derives from the market—it’s what makes societies grow and prosper in a market economy-based society such as ours. Gilead transformed biotech in select therapy areas and served as an agent for entrepreneurial biomedical research transformation.
Inappropriate Incentives Not So Good
However, it is not OK if the taxpayer dollar is used to subsidize such accumulation while at the same time other economical approaches are purposely ignored by representative officials and government health authorities in the midst of a deadly pandemic. After all, the ivermectin data indicating some efficacy has accumulated for months now. The development of therapies and pursuit of generics should not be reduced to an either-or false dilemma. Both need to happen.