NIH plays legal games while US citizens die

NIH plays legal games while US citizens die

On January 14, 2021, the NIH updated its recommendation on the use of ivermectin in COVID-19. It removed its recommendation against the use of ivermectin in COVID-19. However it stated:

“There are insufficient data for the COVID-19 Treatment Guidelines Panel (the Panel) to recommend either for or against the use of ivermectin for the treatment of COVID-19.”

The “Panel” consists of 47 medical experts and patient advocates. Presumably, recommendations in the Guidelines are endorsed by a vote of the Panel. However, there is ambiguity about voting since the Guidelines state:

“Updates to existing sections that do not affect the rated recommendations are approved by Panel co-chairs without a Panel vote.”

I submitted a Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) request to the NIH on January 25 to find out if there was a vote:

“On January 6, 2021, the NIH COVID-19 Treatment Guidelines Panel met to consider updating their recommendation on the use of Ivermectin in COVID-19. Please answer the following question. As of today, has that Panel taken a vote on whether to change its recommendation? (Date Range for Record Search: From 01/06/2021 To 01/25/2021)”

The NIH responded:

“Please be advised that the FOIA is not intended to answer questions, but rather it is meant for the public to request specifically identified and searchable Federal records that are already in existence, i.e. a record cannot be created in response to a FOIA request. Considering this, your request is not deemed a proper FOIA request as it is in the form of a question, and your NIH FOIA case has been administratively closed.”

I rephrased and resubmitted the FOIA request on January 28:

“All updates to the Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19) Treatment Guidelines that were endorsed by a vote of the Panel. (Date Range for Record Search: From 01/01/2021 To 01/28/2021)”

There was only one update to the Guidelines in that time period and that update was for the ivermectin recommendation. Therefore, if there was a vote on the ivermectin recommendation, the NIH should provide that update. If there was not a vote, the NIH should state that no record is available.

The NIH did not respond to this request within 20 business days as required by law. I have challenged that non-response by the NIH in federal court. The NIH did just provide this response:

“You requested all updates to the Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19) Treatment Guidelines that were endorsed by a vote of the Panel (Date range for record search from 01/01/2021 to 01/28/2021). All approved updates to the guidelines are posted online and can be found at https://www.covid19treatmentguidelines.nih.gov/whats-new/. The documents posted on this website respond to your request in full.”

Whether that is a legally adequate response to the FOIA request remains to be seen in the federal court proceeding. What is obvious is that the NIH is playing legal games while US citizens suffer and die from COVID-19.

Responses

  1. I have had similar negative responses to my FoI requests in the UK. On 10th December 2020, I asked the Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency “Why has Ivermectin treatment not been approved by MHRA and included as the preferred protocol for prophylaxis, early, post exposure and severe case treatment for Covid-19?”. I gave some study references including a meta-analysis and stated “There are over 40 trials of Ivermectin that have been published or are underway throughout the world. All of them are indicating 100% effectiveness. Does the MHRA not believe that during a pandemic you should use what works until something better comes along? When is the MHRA going to recommend Ivermectin treatment for COVID-19?”
    Their full response is here – https://www.whatdotheyknow.com/request/the_miracle_cure_for_covid_19_is#incoming-1723206

      1. What is important about his comment is this: the MHRA replied this:
        “Ivermectin is out of patent and therefore no application can be expected
        from a pharmaceutical company.
        If ivermectin is out of patent, this should not be a barrier to any
        company submitting a marketing authorisation (or variation to a current
        marketing authorisation they hold) to include treatment of Covid-19
        patients. As we previously advised, once an application is made then
        supporting data will be assessed by the MHRA with regard to its quality,
        safety and efficacy for the conditions it is intended to treat, and to
        confirm that it has an acceptable balance of risk and benefit.”

        And this effectively describes why the MHRA will never ever approve Ivermectin for use against covid-19. Black and white a statement by the MHRA… because there is no money in it: the pharma company has to request it, the MHRA (just like the EMA), will never ever pro-actively seek for a cure, nor will they ever sponsor a test that will show that an expired patent drug will be a cure.

        1. Just to clarify: NIH recommendation of a COVID-19 therapy does not require a sponsor. The recommendation is triggered by scientific advances. Also, FDA approval of ivermectin for use in COVID-19 is not necessary since it has prior approval for other indications.

  2. Health freedom that might come of FOA disclosure is hoped for. Meanwhile, use the Bill of Rights Ninth Amendment to make the federal government produce proof of how they are having powers delegated to them by the U.S. Constitution to make our health care choices for us…