A retired marine from Albert Lea, Minnesota, wants to take Walmart to court after a pharmacist refused to fill his doctor's prescription for ivermectin to treat his case of COVID-19.
Bill Salier, a Marine Corps veteran who served in Somalia and a former U.S. Senate candidate, shared his story Monday on the "Steve Deace Show," describing how a local Walmart pharmacist refused to fulfill a doctor's prescription for ivermectin for both him and his wife, who had each come down with COVID-19.
Salier, 53, told BlazeTV host Steve Deace that he began feeling sick on Oct. 1, and after testing he was found positive for COVID-19. After his diagnosis, Salier said he attempted to receive monoclonal antibody treatments by applying through the Minnesota Resource Allocation Platform, but his requests went unanswered.
"We never so much as heard a word back, not even in acknowledgement that the requests had been put in," Salier said.
Failing that, Salier obtained a doctor's prescription for ivermectin, a drug approved for use against parasites but not Food and Drug Administration authorized for use in treating COVID-19. The Biden administration, state health departments, and Merck, the manufacturer of the drug, have all warned against using it for treatment of COVID-19.
The FDA has specifically warned against the use of ivermectin to treat or prevent COVID-19, noting, "Currently available data do not show ivermectin is effective against COVID-19."
"Clinical trials assessing ivermectin tablets for the prevention or treatment of COVID-19 in people are ongoing," the agency said.
Nevertheless, groups like the Front Line COVID-19 Critical Care Alliance and America's Frontline Doctors have touted the drug's benefits, claiming the Nobel-prize winning drug is very effective at treating COVID-19. Some scientists disagree, highlighting flaws in studies cited in support for ivermectin as a COVID treatment and urging people that more research is necessary before the drug should be prescribed for COVID patients.
In response, pharmacies and hospitals in the U.S. have generally followed the government's recommendations and have denied iverrmectin to COVID-19 patients. Salier says that's what happened to him and his wife.
"The prescription was sent in to our local Walmart, here in Albert Lea, Minnesota, and it was refused to be filled by the pharmacist. This pharmacist contacted my wife, telling her that he would not fill it. My wife stated that he did not have the right to stand between our physician's prescription and the patent, he asserted that he did have that right and he refused to do so," Salier said.
Salier says he and his wife were left in "limbo" after the pharmacist continued to deny them access to ivermectin, even after their physician called him to discuss the matter.
"We were faced with either continuing to suffer and quite possibly ending up in the hospital," he told Deace, explaining that they decided to take a risk and purchased a horse paste version of the drug that is not intended for human consumption and could be dangerous if overdosed.
"I was forced with this decision and I was either going to lay there, suffer, and be at life's peril of losing my time with my family, or I was going to eat that horse paste. And down the hatch it went," Salier said.
Fortunately, Salier did not overdose and reported to Deace that "within eight hours" he began to feel relief from his COVID-19 symptoms.
Now, he says he wants a reckoning with Walmart and the pharmacist who denied him access to ivermectin.
"If you ever wanted to find out what it is to punch a Marine in the face and what type of response you're gonna get, well, America, you're about to see the type of response that you get. Because if you take on me and my family, and you stand between our physician and the health care that they have prescribed to me as a life-saving thing — in my opinion that is what it did — then you have got a fight on your hands and I am coming for that fight."
Salier is partnering with We the Patriots USA, a nonprofit organization that defends civil liberties, to raise money to file a federal lawsuit against the pharmacist and Walmart.
Brian Festa, an attorney with We the Patriots USA, told Deace that it was "abhorrent" for the Walmart pharmacist to "play God" with the Saliers' lives.
He observed that even the FDA acknowledges there are circumstances where health care providers prescribe certain drugs for unapproved use "when they judge that it is medically appropriate for their patient."
"You may be asking yourself why your healthcare provider would want to prescribe a drug to treat a disease or medical condition that the drug is not approved for. One reason is that there might not be an approved drug to treat your disease or medical condition. Another is that you may have tried all approved treatments without seeing any benefits. In situations like these, you and your healthcare provider may talk about using an approved drug for an unapproved use to treat your disease or medical condition," the FDA stated in a FAQ on its website.
"So, this is talking about off-label usage. This has been done for years," Festa said. "We're talking about a drug, ivermectin, that was part of a treatment protocol that won the Nobel Prize in 2015 as an anti-parasitic for malaria. This is FDA-approved, it's been used for decades as an anti-parasitic, and now you're suddenly telling us in 2021 that it's unsafe because it's being used for off-label usage? Which again, is so common in the practice of medicine."
Festa added that the pharmacist "had absolutely no right to tell Bill and his wife that he was not going to fill this prescription" and that Walmart needs to be held accountable for what happened.
Festa said We The Patriots USA has committed $25,000 to Salier's legal fund and that once the group raises $50,000 to cover legal fees, they will be ready to file the lawsuit.
You can listen to the interview below, beginning at the 29:47 mark: