DENVER – A Loveland family nurse practitioner will have to pay $40,000 to the state for illegally marketing ivermectin as a COVID-19 cure, according to Colorado’s attorney general.
The ruling from Attorney General Phil Weiser orders Siegfried Emme, owner of Loveland Medical Clinic, to pay the sum after failing to comply with a cease-and-desist order from the Colorado Department of Law, which instructed him to stop marketing and overstating the effectiveness of “alleged cures for COVID-19, including the anti-parasite drug Ivermectin.”
Emme reportedly advertised IV therapies as a treatment for the novel coronavirus in March 2020 and later advertised other treatments – such as the use of ivermectin – on his social media platforms and blog that he claimed were cures while overstating their effectiveness in fighting COVID-19, according to a news release from Weiser’s office.
Ivermectin is an FDA-approved antiparasitic drug that is used to treat several parasitic worm infections, and it is also being evaluated for its potential to reduce the rate of malaria transmission in mosquitoes, according to the National Institutes of Health (NIH). The drug is not currently approved by the FDA for the treatment of any viral infection, including COVID-19.
While ivermectin has been shown to inhibit the replication of SARS-CoV-2 in cell cultures, the NIH states, “studies suggest that achieving the plasma concentrations necessary for the antiviral efficacy detected in vitro would require administration of doses up to 100-fold higher than those approved for use in humans.”
The NIH goes on to say that while several randomized trials and studies have been published in peer-reviewed journals since the last revision of their guidelines on the use of ivermectin – with some studies showing no benefits or worsening disease after ivermectin use, while others showed a faster improvement from symptoms attributed to COVID-19 – the data “had incomplete information and significant methodological limitations, which make it difficult to exclude common causes of bias.”
In its recommendation, the NIH states that there is still insufficient evidence for the COVID-19 Treatment Guidelines Panel to “recommend either for or against the use of ivermectin for the treatment of COVID-19,” stating that more results from “adequately powered, well-designed, and well-conducted clinical trials” are needed to provide better guidance on the role of ivermectin to treat the disease.
Still, Weiser’s office said, Emme infrequently posted disclaimers about the use of alleged cures against the new virus, and those that were posted on his blog page were misleading and frequently contradicted the blog posts themselves.
The Department of Law then sent a cease-and-desist notice to Emme in November of 2020 and he agreed to take down the misleading posts, but then failed to remove them all, the news release states.
“My office will hold accountable those who continue to break the law after they are told to stop—and in so doing continue to place the public at risk,” said Weiser in a prepared statement. “Falsely advertising alleged ‘cures’ and providing misleading information about treatments for COVID-19 can cause direct harm to patients and delay them from seeking the care they need.”
In addition to paying the above sum, the release states Emme agreed to not make any false or misleading statement in connection with the sale of health or medical services in Colorado; not make false, misleading, or unsubstantiated representations about the effectiveness of his therapies as treatments or preventative measures for COVID-19; and to clearly disclose if treatments are approved by the FDA, if they are recommended by the NIH, if there are associated warnings or advisories by any federal or state government agency relating to the treatment or preventative measure, and if the treatment is experimental.