On Oct. 13, William Topel and Neil Kitamura, both Anchorage residents, died while under the care of Providence Alaska Medical Center. Topel and his physician requested Ivermectin and vitamins to treat his illness, but Providence refused to administer Ivermectin. Kitamura checked into Providence on Oct. 5 after taking one dose of Ivermectin provided by his physician the day before. Again, Providence refused to allow Kitamura to take Ivermectin despite his prescription.

In response to an email inquiring about Providence’s use of Ivermectin as a treatment for COVID-19, Providence’s External Communications Senior Manager Mikal Canfield implied, then later verified, that the hospital does not use Ivermectin to treat COVID-19 infection. Providence’s policy on the matter seems to be applied broadly with no consideration of patients’ individual healthcare needs.

“The FDA has not approved Ivermectin for use in treating or preventing COVID-19 in humans. Ivermectin tablets are approved at very specific doses for some parasitic worms, and there are topical (on the skin) formulations for head lice and skin conditions like rosacea. Ivermectin is not an anti-viral (a drug for treating viruses).

Providence’s unconditional refusal to administer Ivermectin is highly inappropriate and morally repugnant.

Presumably, considering 77% of Canfield’s 53-word email was copied verbatim, he was referencing an FDA Consumer Update that does not support the use of Ivermectin for the treatment of COVID-19. Ironically, the plagiarism checker identified that one of the same lines Canfield copied from the Consumer Update was used (and cited) in a column that touts Ivermectin’s success in safely, affordably, and effectively treating COVID-19. 

The FDA’s Consumer Update repeatedly asserts that the FDA has not approved Ivermectin for the treatment of COVID-19, pointing out the dangers of taking “animal Ivermectin” and taking Ivermectin in “large doses.” More, despite several studies that show Ivermectin to be a safe and effective treatment for COVID-19, the FDA maintains that “Ivermectin has not been shown to be safe or effective for [treating COVID-19].”

On the subject of when it’s unsafe to take Ivermectin, the FDA holds that it “can” interact with other medications and that you “can” overdose on it – both premises being factors that physicians account for when they make individualized treatment decisions.

Alaskans should demand that Providence’s leadership take accountability for its Ivermectin policy and its potential and actual ramifications

Meanwhile, the FDA states in its Consumer Update that the best ways to “limit the spread of COVID-19” are to get inoculated and follow CDC guidelines. The CDC’s Director said that COVID-19 vaccines could no longer prevent transmission of the disease. Moreover, inconsistent with its supposed standards of “acceptable risk” as it applies them to Ivermectin’s use, the FDA fervently supports the use of COVID-19 vaccines. In its Q&A for [Pfizer’s] Comirnaty – the only FDA-approved COVID vaccine, which is unavailable in the U.S. – the FDA explained an increased risk of serious heart problems associated with Pfizer’s mRNA vaccine.

Finally, in the Consumer Update referenced by Canfield, the FDA closes with, “Your provider can help determine the best option for you, based on your health history.”

What a concept – trained medical professionals’ ability to make informed treatment decisions based on their education, experience and their patients’ individual needs.

In fact, the FDA addresses  the acceptability of the application of that concept in no uncertain terms: “Once the FDA has approved a drug for a disease or medical condition, health care providers generally may prescribe or administer the drug in clinical practice for an unapproved use not described in the approved labeling (i.e., “off-label”) based on their medical judgment, recognizing that the FDA has not assessed the safety or effectiveness of such use.”

Ivermectin is FDA-approved.

Providence’s unconditional refusal to administer Ivermectin is highly inappropriate and morally repugnant. Their policy is contrary to medical science, does not take patients’ individual needs into account, was maintained despite notification of alleged potential violation of Alaska law, and preceded the deaths of two Alaskans – both of whom requested Ivermectin with the support of their doctors. There must be accountability.

Alaskans should demand that Providence’s leadership take accountability for its Ivermectin policy and its potential and actual ramifications. There should be an investigation into the decision-making process and the outcomes of implementing their Ivermectin policy. Providence’s leadership should release a statement describing the reason(s) they chose to implement such policy in detail and with specificity. The statement should address precisely why they determined Ivermectin is not to be used to treat COVID-19 under any circumstance, their premises for that conclusion, and scientifically grounded supporting documentation for the decision. It should outline their application of risk-analysis as it applied to their Ivermectin decision. Finally, it should address the tragic loss of life that very possibly could’ve been avoided and discuss Providence’s plans with respect to their Ivermectin policy moving forward.


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Providence Alaska must be accountable for denying Ivermectin to patients who later died

Darren Hansen
Darren Hansen moved to Alaska from New York as a teenager. He is a proud American, proud Alaskan, and a proud veteran.