The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) is refusing to change its statements against ivermectin, even after a court said it acted outside of its authority when it told people to stop using it to treat COVID-19.
The U.S. appeals court said that the FDA's statements, including one telling people to "stop" using ivermectin as a COVID-19 treatment, went beyond the authority conferred on the agency by Congress.
Two weeks later, FDA social media posts and a key webpage remain unchanged.
The appeals court did not order the FDA to take any action and remanded the case to a lower court for consideration on standing.
But Dr. Robert Apter, the lead plaintiff in the case that led to the ruling, said that the FDA should still take action.
"From an ethical point of view, the FDA has been told not to do what they are doing. They have an ethical and moral obligation to follow the court’s directive and stop giving advice against using effective repurposed drugs for early treatment of COVID," Dr. Apter told The Epoch Times in a message.
The FDA declined to comment.
"The FDA does not comment on possible, pending, or ongoing litigation," a spokesperson told The Epoch Times via email.
"Health care professionals generally may choose to prescribe an approved human drug for an unapproved use when they judge that the unapproved use is medically appropriate for an individual patient," it added.
Such prescriptions are known as off-label prescriptions and are common in the United States.
Archives show it was still up as of this year but it's unclear exactly when it was taken down.
RulingIn the ruling, a U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit panel found in favor of Drs. Apter, Mary Talley Bowden, and Paul Marik, overturning a previous decision.
The doctors sued the FDA in 2022 over its anti-ivermectin statements, arguing the agency was illegally interfering with their practice of medicine.
U.S. District Judge Jeffrey Brown had ruled against the plaintiffs, finding the FDA acted within the authority conferred by the act.
The panel disagreed.
"FDA never points to any authority that allows it to issue recommendations or give medical advice," Judge Willett wrote. “Nothing in the act’s plain text authorizes FDA to issue medical advice or recommendations,” he also said.
"The decision is pretty clear that the FDA is not a physician, and that while it might have authority to inform the public, it can't endorse particular treatments or advise on how to approach any specific illness," Mr. Kelson told The Epoch Times.
He declined to comment on whether the FDA should update its statements.
The appeals court decision trumps the previous ruling, but the panel also sent the case back to Judge Brown.
The FDA had asked the appeals court to dismiss the case based on lack of standing. The court said it chose not to decide on the standing issue.
"We see greater wisdom in remanding for the district court to address standing and any other jurisdictional issues in the first instance," the panel said. "We express no view on those issues, and instead we trust their initial determination to the district court’s sound judgment."
That means Judge Brown will take up the case again, but that his ruling on standing could be overturned.
The government could also appeal the recent appeals court ruling. That appeal would go to the U.S. Supreme Court. The U.S. Department of Justice, which is representing the FDA, did not respond to a request for comment.