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Fox Business
Fox Business
2 Sep 2023

A federal appeals court is reviving a lawsuit against the Food and Drug Administration for discouraging ivermectin use during the COVID-19 pandemic.

The three doctors behind the suit are claiming the agency overstepped its bounds by aggressively messaging against the medication ivermectin for the treatment of COVID-19 symptoms.

The federal appeals court on Friday overturned a lower court's ruling that the lawsuit could not continue.

Tablets of ivermectin

This picture shows the tablets of Ivermectin drugs in Tehatta, West Benga, India. The FDA heavily discouraged use of the drug during the COVID-19 pandemic. (Soumyabrata Roy/NurPhoto via Getty Images / Getty Images)

The doctors allege that the FDA harmed their reputations by publicizing medical advice against the drug — an action that would fall outside its prerogative to inform, not prescribe. 

The federal appeals court found that there was a basis for the lawsuit to move forward.

"[The] FDA is not a physician. It has authority to inform, announce, and apprise—but not to endorse, denounce, or advise," Judge Don Willett wrote. "The Doctors have plausibly alleged that FDA’s Posts fell on the wrong side of the line between telling about and telling to."

Ivermectin became the subject of intense debate after some doctors began prescribing the drug as a treatment for COVID-19.

Critics characterized the drug as "cattle" or "horse medication," citing its use to treat parasites in animals. However, the drug is also approved for human use to treat parasites, skin conditions and other ailments. 


A box of ivermectin is shown in a pharmacy. A federal appeals court on Friday, September 1, 2023 revived a lawsuit by three doctors who say the Food and Drug Administration overstepped its authority in a campaign against treating COVID-19 with the an ((AP Photo/Mike Stewart, File) / AP Newsroom)

Self-administering the drug can be dangerous and result in accidental poisoning. 


The FDA advocated against the medication during the pandemic, frequently employing the slogan "You are not a horse!"