Correction: An earlier version of this story incorrectly said Paul Marik, the doctor suing Sentara, was a Sentara employee. He is an Eastern Virginia Medical School employee who works under contract at Sentara Norfolk General Hospital.
PORTSMOUTH, Va. (WAVY) — Sentara Healthcare is due in court later this week as a physician is challenging the health care giant over the drug Ivermectin.
When used properly on livestock and humans, Ivermectin can address issues with parasites. But Paul Marik, an Eastern Virginia Medical School critical care doctor who works under contract at Sentara Norfolk General Hospital, wants to use the drug to get COVID-19 under control.
However, Sentara, and now Riverside Health, have banned the use of the drug for COVID-19.
10 On Your Side spoke to a Riverside official about the controversial drug.
“There’s really no evidence that it benefits patients. Although there are small individual studies, those studies don’t add up to sufficient evidence,” said Dr. Michael Dacey, who is the president and COO of Riverside Health System.
“People may view it as an alternative to vaccination. One, it’s not effective all by itself. Two, it has toxicity, and three, there are great alternatives to protecting yourself and your family from covid” said Dacey.
According to Dacey, a Cochrane analysis of the methodology used for recent studies on Ivermectin and COVID-19 revealed problems.
“Out of those 58 studies, right away, 38 were discounted because they were not structured right,” said Dacey.
Health officials say there’s no solid research to support the use of Ivermectin, but the research is solid on two new drugs that are under review.
“We got word from Merck and Pfizer about incredibly effective drugs that reduce your chance of dying by over 90%, and also vaccines reduce your chance of dying by over 90%,” said Dacey.
Regina Mobley: “Are you disappointed when very skilled highly trained medical professionals are dealing not with patients, but with attorneys and judges?”
Dacey: It’s very unfortunate is really really unfortunate. We’ve got enough problems in health care right now. We need to focus on proven treatments that we know help people and that’s very important.”
Dacey underscored the importance of getting the safe, free and effective coronavirus vaccine and the needed booster shots.
“The most important thing people can do is to get vaccinated, and if you got it more than six months ago and if you are over 65 you should get a booster shot as well,” Dacey said.