Why I am challenging NIH ivermectin secrecy in federal court

Why I am challenging NIH ivermectin secrecy in federal court

The National Institutes of Health (NIH) updated its COVID-19 Treatment Guidelines recommendation for the use of ivermectin in COVID-19 on January 14, 2021. In that update, the NIH removed its recommendation against the use of ivermectin but 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 Guidelines also state:

“All recommendations included in the Guidelines are endorsed by a majority of Panel members…”

However, the NIH refused to respond when asked if a vote was held on the ivermectin recommendation. Refusal of the NIH to respond to that question was reported earlier. They refused to respond to both an informal request and to a Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) request. Responding to FOIA requests is required and I filed a complaint on that basis on March 16 in the federal district court in the District of New Jersey. The complaint was filed pro se by email as allowed by this court.

The complaint alleges that the use of ivermectin in COVID-19 is controversial and that research on that therapy should not have been dismissed without consideration by the full COVID-19 Treatment Guidelines Panel:

“14. NIH states that there is ‘insufficient data’ to this point, to recommend the use of Ivermectin in COVID-19.[13] That view is shared by Merck who issued a statement on February 4, 2021 about ivermectin: ‘No scientific basis for a potential therapeutic effect against COVID-19 from pre-clinical studies; No meaningful evidence for clinical activity or clinical efficacy in patients with COVID-19 disease, and; A concerning lack of safety data in the majority of studies.’[14]

“15. Others disagree. The national governments of Slovakia,[15] Czech Republic,[16] Macedonia,[17] Belize,[18] Bolivia[19] and Peru,[20] the government of the province of Uttar Pradesh in India,[21] and the government of Mexico City in Mexico,[22] have all authorized the use of Ivermectin in COVID-19. The government of the state of Chiapas in Mexico conducted a mass distribution campaign of ivermectin.[23]

“16. Because of this controversy over the use of ivermectin in COVID-19, Yim seeks to better understand how NIH reached the Guidelines recommendation on ivermectin.”

The question is: “Why bother?” There are two simple reasons:

  1. The complaint formalizes the concern I have raised that the NIH may not have held a vote of the COVID-19 Treatment Guidelines Panel to endorse its recommendation on ivermectin.
  2. If there is any doubt about whether the NIH held a vote on its ivermectin recommendation, formal acknowledgement by the NIH will remove that doubt.


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  1. Somebody help me! I do not understand how a national health body such as the NIH can take a completely unsubstantiated PR statement from Merck -which is devoid of any proof (or truth) whatsoever – as evidence against the use of a medication! If it wasn’t that people are dying unnecessarily it would be a hilarious farce especially coming from the company that peddled ivermectin to the world for 30 years and vouched for its safety. What next? Are we to see NIH recommending Coca Cola because its advertising says it’s the real thing!
    But hang on, is this actually an inadvertent admission that the NIH kowtows to Pharma co.’s every whim?
    This challenge is necessary to try to expose the truth behind undue influence and corruption. Godspeed Dr Yim.

    1. The complaint does not claim that NIH based its recommendation on Merck’s statement on ivermectin. The complaint simply points out that the NIH and Merck share a viewpoint on this drug.

  2. Thanks Dr. Yim. Like you, I think these decisions require full transparency. The decision making process needs to be exposed and made public (I am still puzzled by Remdesivir’s rise).
    With COVID-19 as with any massive public health matter, I understand that health institutions aren’t always right. In the case of Ivermectin, I don’t see that safety is an issue. The real harm could well be to the tens of thousands who could have been treated but instead were sent home to wait it out while big Pharma tries to find something more elegant and expensive. That is shameful.

  3. I don’t observe any express cause of action, or any request for a particular declaration as to the violation of law.
    But, it’s a pro se complaint, so the court may try to preserve the complaint or permit an amendment to clarify the issues.
    Good luck.

  4. Thank you Dr. Yim for taking this action! Are you familiar with https://www.icandecide.org/? They have a lot of experience taking NIH and others to court and winning in similar complaints/matters. They may be interested in assisting with your efforts. If there are costs involved, that you may seek support for, I’d gladly contribute!