Rob Karas: Doc gives cow dewormer Ivermectin to inmates for Covid despite FDA warning

Ivermectin is often used as a dewormer in animals including cows and horses and many have been seeking Dr Rob Karas' resignation


                            Rob Karas: Doc gives cow dewormer Ivermectin to inmates for Covid despite FDA warning
Dr Rob Karas said ivermectin is one of nine medications he's prescribed for Covid-19 to inmates at the jail (Karashealthcare.com)

A jail doctor in Washington County, Arkansas, has been using an animal deworming drug to treat inmates with Covid-19 despite the fact that the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has specifically warned against it. On Tuesday, August 24, during a finance and budget committee meeting for Washington County, the jail's physician Dr Rob Karas asked for a 10% increase in the medical services contract, even after the county sheriff confirmed that the jail health provider had been prescribing Ivermectin. The drug is often used as a dewormer in animals including cows and horses, and is not recommended for treating the virus.

Ever since the revelation of the use of Ivermectin, Dr Karas has been facing calls for resignation. County-elected Justice of the Peace Eva Madison reportedly brought the issue back up towards the end of the meeting after jail officials presented their 2022 budget. "I learned today that Dr Karas is giving Ivermectin — cow dewormer — to the inmates at the jail," she said. The FDA has said that it "can cause serious harm". 

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Madison told members of the county's governing body, the Washington County quorum court, that a jail official and county employee (who had asked to stay anonymous) told her they had been sent to the jail's clinic to get tested for Covid-19

As per the latest report by CBS News, when the unidentified person tested negative they told Madison they were given a $76 prescription for Ivermectin. "They were concerned about the prescription, asked their primary care physician about it and the doctor told him to 'throw that in the trash," she said. "(The person) tested negative, was given a prescription for Ivermectin, was told to go to Dr Karas's pharmacy just off campus to have it filled," Madison told the committee. 

She added, "He's out $76 because of Dr Karas prescribing dewormer to a county employee for treatment of a condition that he didn't have. The employee had the good fortune to have a physician that he could go to and ask for a second opinion. Our inmates do not have that choice."

Who is Dr Rob Karas?

As per WebMD, Dr Karas graduated from the Indiana University School of Medicine in 1998. He works in Fayetteville, AR and 5 other locations and specializes in Emergency Medicine and Family Medicine.

He has 23 years of experience. As per his website, Dr Karas' initial goal was to be a missionary doctor overseas, but it then evolved into a "two-fold mission", "1) Taking care of patients like they are family and 2) creating a joyful work environment by taking care of his own coworkers like family and knowing that by taking good care of our coworkers, we are taking the best possible care of our patients."

Dr Karas and his practice Karas Health Care have been promoting the drug for months. As per reports, on July 16, the practice posted to Facebook, "If anybody you know test positive send them our way and we'll get them started on doxy, singular, Ivermectin, vitamin d, vitamin c and zinc." Eventually, Facebook flagged the post with a message that said, "Some unapproved Covid-19 treatments may cause serious harm."

FDA's clarification

While the FDA has approved the anti-parasite drug in both people and animals for some parasitic worms, head lice and skin conditions, the agency has not approved its use for treating or preventing Covid in humans. "Ivermectin is not an anti-viral drug," the FDA said, adding that the formula can be 'highly toxic' to humans. 

However, misinformation and unsubstantiated claims have spread widely on social media and the FDA said it has received "multiple reports of people whose use of the drug has required them to seek medical help or hospitalization," according to CBS News. The FDA took to Twitter to share an article titled 'Why You Should Not Use Ivermectin to Treat Or Prevent Covid-19' with a caption that read, "You are not a horse. You are not a cow. Seriously, y'all. Stop it."



 

Merck, the company that makes Ivermectin, also said in February that there is "no scientific basis for a potential therapeutic effect against Covid-19' and that the majority of studies about the drug's potential effect on Covid have a 'concerning lack of safety data'," CBS News reported.