Play Live Radio
Next Up:
Available On Air Stations
News about coronavirus in Florida and around the world is constantly emerging. It's hard to stay on top of it all but Health News Florida can help. Our responsibility is to keep you informed, and to help discern what’s important for your family as you make what could be life-saving decisions.

Polk County Commission Delays Vote On Sending 'Right To Try' Letter To DeSantis

David J. Phillip
The Florida Channel
Leon County Judge John Cooper on June 30, 2022, in a screen grab from The Florida Channel.

After a lengthy discussion and public comments, Commissioner Neil Combee agreed to make changes to the draft and offer it up at a future meeting.

The Polk County Commission decided Tuesday to not vote on sending a letter to the governor asking him to “take action to protect citizens’ right to try” ivermectin, hydroxycloroquine and other unapproved treatments for COVID-19.

The letter, drafted by Commissioner Neil Combee, tells Gov. Ron DeSantis that larger hospitals and pharmacies are refusing to prescribe “safe and effective therapeutics,” although neither drug has been approved to treat COVID-19.

“When a citizen is facing a potentially life-threatening case of COVID-19, he or she should receive the ‘right to try’ potentially life-saving therapeutics,” the letter says, in reference to the 2015 Florida Right to Try Act, which permits terminally ill patients to receive experimental treatments.

After a lengthy discussion and public comments, Combee agreed to make changes to the letter and offer it up at a future meeting. The next scheduled meeting is in two weeks.

The Food and Drug Administration says ivermectin, known primarily as a livestock dewormer, is approved for human use only to treat infections caused by some parasitic worms and head lice and skin conditions like rosacea.

There have been reports of people self-medicating with ivermectin off the shelf of feed stores and poison control centers receiving a spike in emergency calls from people who have taken it.

Hydroxychloroquine is labeled for the treatment of malaria, discoid and systemic lupus erythematosus, and acute and chronic rheumatoid arthritis. While it has been prescribed by some doctors for COVID, the FDA specifies it has not been approved for treating or preventing the illness.

Originally founded in December 2006 as an independent grassroots publication dedicated to coverage of health issues in Florida, Health News Florida was acquired by WUSF Public Media in September 2012.