PHOENIX — Arizonans are poisoning themselves with medication meant for horses and cattle in their belief it will prevent or fight COVID-19.

Dr. Marjorie Bessel, chief clinical officer at Banner Health, said Wednesday that her organization’s poison center in just August managed 10 cases of people who became ill after taking ivermectin, “some that were so severe that they did require hospitalization.”

It’s apparently become the latest claim of those looking for alternatives to vaccinations.

“Ivermectin is not usually something that our poison center gets many calls about,” Bessel said. “So this is very concerning to us to see this growing trend.”

All this comes as the Department of Health Services reports another 2,432 new cases and 29 deaths. That brings the death total in Arizona to 19,333.

At the same time, hospitals statewide report they have just 129 beds in intensive-care units available, a figure not seen since last November.

Only a third of those are occupied by COVID patients, half of the rate during the last spike.

There’s a similar pattern of use for regular in-patient beds.

But Bessel said that many of the other non-COVID patients that are now filling those beds are often those who put off routine checkups and procedures during the height of the virus.

“Therefore, there has been delay of treatment for some of these patients,” she said. “There has been late diagnosis for some of these patients.”

And Bessell said there has been “unseasonably high activity” for other respiratory viruses.

That level of hospital use also has resulted in what she called “day-to-day” decisions on whether there is staff and space so that certain kinds of surgery and procedures can be performed.

Bessel’s briefing comes as a judge is weighing the legality of a measure approved by lawmakers and signed by Gov. Doug Ducey which bans schools from requiring staff and students to wear masks. Challengers contend the provision was illegally adopted. And in the meantime some districts have imposed such mandates anyway.

The doctor has repeatedly sidestepped questions about whether she agrees with the new law.

But she said there clearly is evidence that at least some children are contracting the virus in the classroom. More to the point, Bessel said that information shows that masks work.

“We are very much aware that school outbreaks occurring in Maricopa County are occurring at a much higher frequency in those schools and school districts where masking mandates are not in place,” Bessel said.

She isn’t the only one declining to take a stance on the new law.

In a blog published Wednesday by the state health department, Dr. Richard Carmona, tapped by Ducey to be his health adviser, also declined to publicly differ with or debate the views of his new boss who opposes mask mandates, even as he acknowledged that there are public health recommendations for everyone to wear a mask while indoors while COVID spread is substantial.

“We can’t let strident arguments about mandating or not mandating masks and vaccines distract from the real problem: Not enough of us have been vaccinated,” Carmona wrote. He said the goal now is to “change the narrative” to convince people that getting inoculated is about more than their own health.

“Getting vaccinated means a thriving economy and more job opportunities, children learning safely at school and preparing themselves for successful futures, and enough hospital capacity so we can get medical care when we need it,” Carmona wrote.

As of Wednesday, nearly 4.1 million Arizonans had at least one dose of COVID-19 vaccine. But barely half of all Arizonans are fully protected.

The decision by some to try ivermectin instead of any of the vaccines given full or emergency-use approval could be just another factor complicating efforts to get more Arizonans inoculated.

According to the FDA, certain animal formulations of the drug, including injectable, pour-on and paste, are approved to prevent parasites in animals.

There are some human uses, like pills for parasitic worms and topical applications for head lice and skin conditions like rosacea. But those, according to the agency, are at specific doses.

That’s not to say there may not be some use for the drug in dealing with the virus.

“Clinical trials are ongoing to assess ivermectin for COVID,” Bessel said. “But no clear findings have been released that confirm this drug is safe or as an effective form of treatment for COVID.”

And that, she said, is why doctors at Banner won’t prescribe it.

But there apparently is no bar to doctors recommending it for patients.

The FDA, in a consumer bulletin, tells people that if they get a written prescription they should fill it through a “legitimate source such as a pharmacy,” and they should take it exactly as prescribed.

Part of the danger, according to the FDA, is taking medications meant for animals. Not only are those drugs designed for much larger creatures than humans, but the animal versions “are very different from those approved for humans.”

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(9) comments

Mike White

Very disingenuous reporting, which is typical of this "news" reporting service. Invermectin has been safely used by humans for many years. The problem is people taking it on their own without medical direction in quantities intended for animals. I suspect if Biden were touting it, articles like this would never be written, or if so, in a very different tone.

Jeff Robbins

Trump has wholeheartedly endorsed getting vaccinated against COVID-19, members of his base should be trampling one another to get a shot the moment they were available, as if the jabs were deeply discounted 62-inch flat-screen TVs on Black Friday.

President Donald J. Trump and his wife, Melania, received coronavirus vaccinations in January before leaving the White House

Trump said during many random interviews that he “would recommend” getting inoculated

Trump came out, in public at rallies, and told his supporters to get their shots.

I recommend: Take the vaccines. I did it—it’s good,” he said.

Mr. Trump appeared at the CPAC political conference in Orlando, Fla.

“Everyone should go get your shot,” Mr. Trump said during the speech.

“The vaccines do work,” he said on the “John Fredericks Show,” a conservative talk radio program. “And they are effective. So, here’s my thing: I think I saved millions and millions of lives around the world. We would have had another Spanish flu.”

“And now countries are using our vaccines, and it’s tremendous,” Trump added. “It’s tremendously successful.”

Trump said he knows many people personally who have died of the coronavirus and praised his administration for the role he says it played in making vaccines available earlier than expected.

“I’m very proud of it. I saved millions of lives —

Mr. Trump authorized Operation Warp Speed, the $10 billion public/private partnership to spur development and production of vaccines and bust through regulatory barriers.

Its success is the signature accomplishment of his presidency.

Those who believe Mr. Trump to be among the greatest of American presidents should honor his legacy by rolling up their sleeves.

Surprisingly huge swaths of Republicans choose not to get a lifesaving vaccine and outlets peddle all manner of misinformation about vaccines, like that they aren’t actually necessary and are in fact liberal plots

Phil Mason

It is someshat ironic that people who worked against President Trump, denigrated him and the citizens who voted for him all of a sudden praise him like he is the Second Coming of the Lord.

Reagan's political criteria was "If a person agrees with me 80% of the time, he is my friend." The current globalist socialists criteria is No matter how much I hate you, I can pretend you are the Savior if it advances my evil scheme.

Steve Brule

Why listen to doctors with decades of experience and the CDC who spends billions a year studying diseases and viruses when you can listen to your cousin Bubba Joe who works at Walmart and thinks the earth is flat?

Phil Mason

Listen to the CDC??? They FUNDED the "Gain of Function" research that created COVID19.

At least Bubba Joe did not finance the creation of the virus and his advice is given with good intentions as opposed to the ChiCom, WHO, CDC, DEMOniCRATS, and health providers who fudge the numbers for political reasons and to acquire federal tax dollars.

Also, what Banner did not say is those who have become ill with the Ivermectin were less than wise individuals who over medicated themselves. Perhaps, using your recommendation,watch the testimony of the leading Pulmonary and Critical Care Doctor RE: Ivermectin in aworn testimony in the US Senate.


Banner is a medical organization who is using COVID to up their financial bottom line. Their medical personnel are so opposed to their mandate that they are short of professional caregivers and nurses are now being bribed with $16,000.00 monthly pay. Last, anything Howie writes is a left-wing screed.

Steve Brule

Hey man if you want to eat horse dewormer and fish antibiotics by all means have a ball.

Steve Brule

Wow I was on the toilet so I took the time to read your post and it looks like what just came out of me. I'm not going to attempt to debunk you because that's the equivalent of arguing with a crazed man with his pants around his ankles yelling 911 was an inside job. You should seek mental help and soon you're showing signs of paranoid delusions maybe more horse paste will do the trick. 😜

Phil Mason

Steve, since your posts cannot be replied to, I presume because waste material is exiting from everywhere including your appendages. I guess when your cranium is located where there is no oxygen and no light that will happen.

Phil Mason

Hey man I did not opine that I wanted to eat horse dewormer and fish antibiotics, I only said the article by my old friend Howie was typical of his lack of journalistic integrity. I worked in the same building as Howie for many years, and he wrote as an advocate instead of a journalist then and continued thru now.

The article is part of the ChiCom,WHO, CDC, DEMOniCRAT, Mao tze Biden panicdemic false and misleading messaging. If you look at the ingredients of the :horse Iver and the human Iver they are the same and Iver was first approved for humans in 1996 with NO serious side effects.

Again, the people getting sick on Iver exceeded the prescribed dosage. That happens EVERY day with prescribed medicines. Just the facts, man

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