Inmates Who Said They Received Ivermectin for COVID Without Their Knowledge Receive Payments

The five inmates will each receive $2,000.
Inmates Who Said They Received Ivermectin for COVID Without Their Knowledge Receive Payments
The U.S. Food and Drug Administration has warned against taking ivermectin for COVID-19, because it is "horse medication." However, ivermectin packaged for human use (as shown here) has been widely prescribed for decades for a range of maladies, including for treatment of lice, other parasites, and viruses. (Natasha Holt/The Epoch Times)
Zachary Stieber

Prisoners in Arkansas who said they received ivermectin as a COVID-19 treatment without their knowledge are receiving payouts after a legal case they filed was settled.

The five inmates will each receive $2,000, according to a copy of the settlement agreement made public by the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) of Arkansas, which was representing the plaintiffs.

“These men are incredibly courageous and resilient to stand up to the abusive, inhumane experimentation they endured at the Washington County Detention Center,” Holly Dickson, executive director of the organization, said in a statement.

“The experimental use of Ivermectin without the knowledge and consent of these patients was a grave violation of medical ethics and the rights of the patients and these brave clients prevented further violation of not only their own rights, but those of others detained in WCDC,” she added.

The case was brought in January 2022 against officials in Washington County and Dr. Robert Karas, the doctor who developed a protocol that included the administration of ivermectin to the inmates.

The plaintiffs tested positive for COVID-19 in August 2021, resulting in them being quarantined. Once there, they were given a cocktail of drugs on a daily basis, according to the complaint.

The plaintiffs were never informed that the cocktail included ivermectin, the complaint stated. They received 12 to 24 milligrams a day for five days, officials said. Dr. Karas and associates were quoted as telling plaintiffs that the drugs were “vitamins,” “antibiotics,” and/or “steroids,” according to the lawsuit.

Ivermectin is not any of those. It is a anthelmintic drug approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) for preventing and treating malaria. Like many drugs, it has been used in an off-label fashion over the years, including against COVID-19. The FDA advises doctors not to use it for that purpose. A U.S. court recently ruled that the FDA likely overstepped its authority with that advice.

Complaints of Side Effects

If the inmates had been informed the drugs they were given included ivermectin, and been informed of its potential side effects and other details, they would have refused to accept it, according to their lawyers.

“Plaintiffs were not given the necessary information to reach a decision about whether or not to accept the Ivermectin treatment. Prior to its administration, Plaintiffs were unaware of the potential side effects for the alleged treatment they were given (indeed, none had ever heard of the drug Ivermectin). Likewise, Plaintiffs were not informed that the FDA warned against the use of Ivermectin for the treatment or prevention of COVID-19,” the suit stated.

Plaintiffs said after receiving ivermectin they suffered side effects such as diarrhea and stomach cramps.

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration building in White Oak, Md., on June 5, 2023. (Madalina Vasiliu/The Epoch Times)
The U.S. Food and Drug Administration building in White Oak, Md., on June 5, 2023. (Madalina Vasiliu/The Epoch Times)
Dr. Karas has acknowledged the inmates were given ivermectin as part of a treatment protocol he developed but disputed the allegations it was administered without their consent.

Defendants also said Dr. Karas did not personally administer ivermectin to the plaintiffs or even meet them. A nurse who did give it, who was not named as a defendant, said in a deposition that inmates who received the drug were “willing to take it” and that she was trained to inform inmates about off-label drug use. Dr. Karas’ company has a contract with Washington County to provide health care to inmates.

U.S. District Judge Timothy Brooks, appointed under President Barack Obama, in March rejected an attempt by defendants to dismiss the case. He said plaintiffs had “plausibly asserted that defendants infringed their recognized liberty interest in bodily integrity.”

The case could have gone to trial but the settlement agreement includes a release of all liability, ending the case.

Doctor ‘Happy With the Outcome’

Plaintiffs dropped all of their claims, including requests for attorneys’ fees, in exchange for receiving the $2,000 each.

Judge Brooks signed an order dismissing the case with prejudice, preventing plaintiffs from bringing the allegations again in court at a later date. The judge said he would reopen the case only if the settlement was not completed.

An attorney representing the defendants declined to comment.

“We were prepared to go to trial later this month but didn’t need to,” Dr. Karas said in an Oct. 6 statement.

“We are very happy with the outcome of the case,” he said in an Oct. 10 statement. “We are thankful for the ACLU and their efforts at highlighting our Covid treatment protocols at the jail. ... We have had well over 2,000 cases at the Washington County Detention Center with zero deaths, zero intubations, and only one two-day hospitalization.”

Other drugs in the protocol developed by Dr. Karas in addition to ivermectin include vitamin D, zinc, and the antibiotic doxycycline.

Dr. Karas was also investigated by the Arkansas State Medical Board, but the board opted in 2022 to take no action after the doctor provided information resolving questions members had about what happened.