New Hampshire moved closer to becoming the first U.S. state to offer ivermectin without a prescription on March 16.
By a 183—159 vote, New Hampshire’s Republican-dominated House of Representatives approved HB1022, which would allow pharmacists to dispense ivermectin under a standing order, meaning that anyone could go to a pharmacist and get human-grade ivermectin.
State Republican lawmaker Leah Cushman, a nurse and sponsor of the legislation, told The Epoch Times in January that she “had absolutely no doubt lives will be saved if human-grade ivermectin was available to COVID patients.”
“House Republicans sent a clear message today that we support expanding options for the treatment of COVID,” Cushman told The Epoch Times.
She said its approval by the House also means people won’t have to resort to buying human-grade ivermectin from a foreign country in order to exercise their right to use the medication to treat their symptoms.
Cushman noted that the provision in the measure that safeguards doctors from any potential discipline—or an investigation by the state’s licensing board—for prescribing ivermectin for COVID-19 takes “some of the political pressure” off them.
The legislation still has to win final approval from the Senate, which is also Republican-controlled, and thus far, its Republican lawmakers have shown they believe in the state’s “Live Free or Die” motto when it comes to treatment choices about COVID-19.
Similar measures are pending legislative approval in Oklahoma, Missouri, Indiana, Arizona, and Alaska.
In New Hampshire, the ivermectin legislation is one of several COVID-related proposals led by Republicans.
The House Health, Human Services, and Elderly Affairs Committee, which narrowly voted “ought to pass” on the ivermectin measure, also approved a proposed ban on the enforcement of any federal vaccine mandate and rejected legislation that would have added the COVID-19 vaccine to immunization requirements for public school students.
There has been a divide between New Hampshire Republicans and state Gov. Chris Sununu, himself a Republican, over COVID-19, with 13 protesters arrested in 2021 after objecting to his push for the state to accept a total of $27 million in federal money to promote the COVID-19 vaccines.
However, Sununu, who gets the final say over the legislation, has steadfastly remained an opponent to mandating the COVID-19 vaccines, and he was the only governor in the northeast to join a gubernatorial lawsuit against the Biden administration over its federal vaccine mandate directive.
That mandate called for anyone who worked at a company with 100 or more employees to be vaccinated against the virus.
The U.S. Supreme Court blocked the directive, but left in place Biden’s mandatory vaccine requirement for health care workers. It has also refused to decide the argument that religious exemptions from COVID-19 vaccination should be a constitutional guarantee.
Alternative treatments such as ivermectin have caused their share of controversy in New England.
In Maine, a close neighbor to New Hampshire, the state suspended the medical license of one of the region’s—if not the nation’s—most prominent doctors for prescribing ivermectin, Hydroxychloroquine, and other alternative treatments for COVID-19.
Dr. Meryl Nass, a national expert on vaccine-induced illnesses, was also initially ordered to undergo psychiatric treatment, but the state’s medical licensing board withdrew that request.
Like the New Hampshire ivermectin legislation, other state measures seeking to make the drug available over the counter, call for a ban of such retaliation by state licensing boards against doctors or nurse practitioners who prescribe patients ivermectin and other alternative treatments.
In addition to ivermectin, Oklahoma Senate Bill 1525 also proposes making Hydroxychloroquine available over the counter.
“It’s incredible to me that the sole focus of the current administration and the Capitol’s ‘science’ is on a vaccine that isn’t quite as ‘safe and effective’ as they make it out to be,” said Oklahoma state Sen. Nathan Dahm, a Republican and the measure’s primary sponsor.
The Food and Drug Administration, along with many doctors, remain opposed to the use of ivermectin against COVID-19, saying that it hasn’t yet been proven to be an effective treatment for the virus.