MADISON — As Anthony Fauci and Francis Collins were publicly demanding Americans “follow the science,” the dynamic health duo privately tried to stifle debate. According to emails released through a Freedom of Information Act request filed by the American Institute for Economic Research, Fauci, the director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, and Collins, the head of the National Institutes of Health, quickly moved to discredit and, ultimately, silence the Great Barrington Declaration. The open letter was written in October 2020 and signed by thousands of scientists. It argued against the COVID-19 vaccine-first thinking and lockdown policies promoted by Fauci and Collins and for pandemic policy focused on protecting the most vulnerable while re-opening society.
That kind of quashing of scientific argument motivated a group of state lawmakers to write a package of “Medical Freedom” legislation.
Its sponsors say the proposed package is a common sense effort to protect healthcare providers from being censored and intimidated and having their licenses revoked for speaking their professional medical opinion or conducting novel treatments. Another bill would bar pharmacists from refusing to fill legally authorized prescriptions of novel drugs.
“Big government, corporate media and Big Pharma have waged a war of intimidation on pharmacists who distribute medicines in the treatment and prevention of COVID,” said state Rep. Dave Murphy (R-Greenville), author of one of the bills.
The measures, according to sponsors, are aimed at countering the “obsessively-used label, ‘misinformation.’
One proposal prohibits healthcare entities and credentialing boards from discriminating or retaliating against health care providers for ordering a particular drug, devices or biological product if there is clinical data supporting its use and it is approved by the federal Food and Drug Administration. Doctors must also inform their patients of risks and alternatives.
The legislation protects doctors who prescribe medicines such as Ivermectin and Hydroxychloroquine, not originally intended for treating COVID-19. While the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention issued a health alert cautioning against the use of the drug to treat COVID, some studies have pointed to its efficacy. A study in the American Journal of Therapeutics found “large reductions in COVID-19 deaths are possible using Ivermectin.”
State Rep. Shae Sortwell (R-Two Rivers) said we are entering an Orwellian “age of Big Brother” and “groupthink.”
“That is what we’re facing right now in Wisconsin and, really, across the U.S., where doctors and medical professionals are being silenced, having their licenses threatened, having their ability to do their jobs, hindered by systems, by governments,” Sortwell said at a press conference this week. The lawmaker said he had a complaint on his desk from a healthcare provider whose license is being investigated.
Murphy’s bill would require pharmacists to dispense any lawfully prescribed bill without delays. Some conservative lawmakers are concerned that would open the door to forcing pharmacists to prescribe RU-486, the abortion pill.
Murphy’s office said the pharmacists would still be protected by “conscience clauses,” laws allowing health providers to refuse services based on personal beliefs.
The Wisconsin Medical Society believes the bills aren’t necessary.
“Further, the bills appear to undermine some basic safeguards now in place that help prevent care that might fall below minimal accepted standards,” Dr.Jerry Halverson, chairman of the Society’s Board of Directors, said in a statement. “So rather than potentially harming our state’s high quality health care system, we ask our government policymakers to help physicians and their health care teams: encourage vaccinations, promote smart behaviors and help us emerge from this pandemic as soon as possible.”
Dan Koster, a Green Bay doctor who has practiced medicine for 35 years and serves as president of the Physicians for Freedom, said health care and patients need “respectful and professional scientific debate” more than ever.
“The last couple of years we have seen coercion, censoring, intimidation. Physicians forced to not say what they believe and in some cases have to fight for their licenses,” Koster said “That’s not healthy for science, it’s not healthy for physicians and it’s not healthy for patients”