Andy Harris, a Maryland congressman and anesthesiologist, says a complaint has been filed against him with a physicians board for prescribing ivermectin to treat COVID-19.
Ivermectin is used to treat parasites in humans but is not authorized for treating COVID-19 by the Food and Drug Administration, which says the medication can be dangerous in large doses. Often citing its use overseas, ivermectin supporters have pushed the drug as an inexpensive treatment for COVID. But researchers so far have been unable to prove the drug is effective.
Harris acknowledged in an October radio interview that he had prescribed ivermectin for COVID-19. The Republican said in a Monday discussion of vaccine mandates by the conservative House Freedom Caucus, an advocacy group, that a complaint has been lodged against him.
“An action is currently being attempted against my medical license for prescribing ivermectin, which I find fascinating, because as an anesthesiologist, I know I use a lot of drugs off-label that are much more dangerous,” Harris said, according to a Facebook video post of the event.
Harris did not say who filed the complaint. “It’s in the investigation stage with the board of medical examiners,” he told the Washington Examiner.
The Maryland Board of Physicians says on its website that it accepts anonymous complaints if there is “sufficient information” that warrants the board to explore the matter.
Complaints received by the board, as well as any subsequent investigations, are confidential, said Maryland Department of Health spokesman Andy Owen. Disciplinary actions are reported on practitioners’ public profiles and the board’s website.
No disciplinary actions have been reported against Harris.
Harris spokesman Walter Smoloski did not return messages seeking a response to the complaint.
In December 2020, Harris suggested that constituents at low risk for coronavirus forgo getting vaccinated initially. He also said at the time that healthy women trying to get pregnant should not be vaccinated because “there is reason to believe it may increase the miscarriage rate.” The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommends that pregnant women be vaccinated.
Harris has said most vaccines do not provoke serious side effects. In March, Harris helped administer doses of the COVID-19 vaccine in Aberdeen.
But he said on the Facebook video that vaccines may become ineffective in the future, depending on the evolution of the virus.
“The way this pandemic is going, it looks like what we’re just going to need are very good treatments because when the next variant comes around, this vaccine may be of no use against it,” he said.
The CDC says that high vaccination coverage prevents new variants from emerging.
Harris, in his 6th term, is the lone Republican in Maryland’s congressional delegation. His district is made up of parts of the counties of Baltimore, Carroll and Harford, as well as the Eastern Shore.