Inmates Win $2K Each After Jail's Ivermectin 'Cocktail'

Arkansas prisoners received antiparasitic drug, which wasn't FDA-approved for COVID, in 2021
By Jenn Gidman,  Newser Staff
Posted Oct 10, 2023 7:49 AM CDT
Inmates Win $2K Each After Jail's Ivermectin 'Cocktail'
A box of ivermectin is displayed in a pharmacy on Sept. 9, 2021, in Georgia.   (AP Photo/Mike Stewart, File)

Five inmates at an Arkansas jail received a small settlement last month after being given ivermectin to treat their bouts with COVID. The Washington Post reports that the detainees involved in a lawsuit against Fayetteville's Washington County Detention Center were each awarded $2,000, in what ACLU Arkansas calls "a victory for civil rights and medical ethics." The prisoners all fell ill with the coronavirus in August 2021 and alleged in their complaint that they were served a drug "cocktail" to help them recover.

In their suit, the men alleged they weren't told at the time that the ivermectin—described by the AP as a Food and Drug Administration-approved drug for humans and animals used for "some parasitic worms, head lice, and skin conditions," but not COVID—was part of the concoction administered to them in overly large doses by Dr. Robert Karas. Instead, they said in their complaint, they thought they were receiving a mixture of steroids, vitamins, and antibiotics. The FDA, National Institutes of Health, and World Health Organization all stressed in 2021 that ivermectin wasn't suitable for the public as a COVID preventative drug or treatment.

The Arkansas State Medical Board later found no ivermectin-specific consent forms were signed by the inmates, who said they suffered various side effects, including stomach cramps, diarrhea, and vision problems. The board, however, decided to take no action against Karas, who told investigators he'd treated more than 250 patients at the prison with ivermectin; he noted that no one had been forced to take it.

story continues below

"These men are incredibly courageous and resilient to stand up to the abusive, inhumane experimentation they endured" at the detention center, ACLU Arkansas' executive director Holly Dickson says. Three of the inmates remain in state custody; two others are now free. Michael Mosley, an attorney for the defendants—which include Karas, his practice, the detention center, and a former Washington County sheriff—says there's been no admission of wrongdoing, and that a settlement was reached to avoid further litigation costs. (More ivermectin stories.)

Get the news faster.
Tap to install our app.
Install the Newser News app
in two easy steps:
1. Tap in your navigation bar.
2. Tap to Add to Home Screen.