WASHINGTON COUNTY, ARKANSAS, Ark. — Inmates at the Washington County Jail are suing the jail, the sheriff, and the jail’s physician.
The ACLU and several inmates filed a lawsuit saying inmates were prescribed Ivermectin to treat COVID-19 without their knowledge.
“Giving them this Ivermectin without their knowledge is actually a violation of the U.S. Constitution,” said ACLU of Arkansas Legal Director, Gary Sullivan. “A violation of their due process right.”
Back in August, 5NEWS reported that jail physician Dr. Rob Karas, of Karas Health Care, prescribed inmates who tested positive for COVID-19 with the anti-parasite drug Ivermectin.
Ivermectin is not FDA-approved to treat COVID-19. In fact, the FDA asked people not to take the drug to treat covid and the Arkansas Department of Health sent out a warning not to take the drug to treat the virus.
The Washington County District Nine Justice of The Peace Eva Madison says she is not surprised by the lawsuit. Calls what Dr. Karas did ‘experimental.’
“I don’t think anybody would say that medical experimentation is it’s good when it’s unknowing but to think that we’re subjecting folks are detained I’m at a jail to experimental medical treatment it’s just it’s just crazy to me," said Madison.
The ACLU of Arkansas says inmates were not given a choice of whether they wanted to take the drug. It says they were told they were given vitamins and did not know of the side effects.
"They were told they were getting vitamins or steroids to make them feel better," Sullivan said speaking of the medicine and the side effects. "They also started to experience some side effects."
The U.S. Food and drug administration has approved ivermectin for use by people and animals for some parasitic worms, head lice and skin conditions.
However, the FDA has not approved its use in treating or preventing covid-19 in humans.
The ACLU says they contacted the jail about this and they did nothing.
“So, we notified Sheriff Helder and Dr. Karas that they should stop this process, they refused,” Sullivan said. “So, our only option is to go to court and get an injunction.”
“He needs to be gone from the jail as far as I’m concerned,” said Madison. “Gone from Washington County really for providing healthcare for any of our folks.”
5NEWS reached out to Dr. Karas about the lawsuit and his office chose not to comment. In the past Dr. Karas told 5NEWS he prescribed the pharmacy grade and not the veterinary grade of Ivermectin.
The ACLU of Arkansas says filing the lawsuit is a must to stop Dr. Karas from prescribing ivermectin. In August, the State Medical Board began investigating Dr. Karas for prescribing Ivermectin.
5NEWS did reach out to the Washington County Jail for comment and has not heard back.