A jail in the US state of Arkansas is under fire after multiple inmates were given ivermectin to treat the coronavirus despite the FDA warning against using the drug to treat COVID-19.
The inmates who were given the drug, which has been approved by the US Food and Drug Administration to treat head lice, skin conditions and parasitic worms, said they did not know the drug they were taking was ivermectin.
According to one of the inmates, employees and doctors at the jail told them the drugs were “vitamins, steroids and antibiotics.”
“We never knew that they were running experiments on us, giving us ivermectin. We never knew that,” Edrick Floreal-Wooten was quoted as telling CBS News last week.
Floreal-Wooten, 29, said he and other inmates given the drug did not find out what medicine they were taking until about five days later when media reports surfaced about a local doctor prescribing the medication.
The doctor, Rob Karas, has denied that any of the inmates were forced to take the medicine and claimed that other inmates had refused the drug.
Jail officials have also echoed the claim.
“It was not consensual. They used us as an experiment like we’re livestock,” Floreal-Wooten told CBS News.
“Just because we wear stripes and we make a few mistakes in life doesn’t make us less of a human. We got families; we got loved ones out there that love us.”
There have been multiple reports of different types of treatments working in individuals who catch the coronavirus, including the use of hydroxychloroquine, one infamously advocated for by former US President Donald Trump,
Hydroxychloroquine is an anti-malaria drug, but scientists and doctors have cautioned against its use for fighting the coronavirus.