Note that views expressed in this opinion article are the writer’s personal views and not necessarily those of TrialSite.
An integrative healthcare physician is at the center of a storm brewing on the island nation of St Lucia. Dr. Gilbertha St Rose, an advocate for the use of ivermectin has been summoned to go before the island’s Medical and Dental Council to face charges of “medical misconduct.”
At stake here is yet another example of a physician simply trying to practice medicine, prescribing what has been considered a safe FDA-approved drug off-label at early onset mild-to-moderate COVID-19. However, the medical establishment for this Caribbean Island nation has pushed back and now threatens to take away the doctor’s ability to practice medicine, care for patients and even earn an income.
The original hearing set for October 13th was rescheduled to October 27th, according to a letter from the council sent to Dr St. Rose, dated October 8th. This was after an affidavit was sent by her and her attorney seeking more specific details regarding her “professional acts of medical misconduct” and for the October 13 hearing to be postponed allowing for more time to prepare for the defense case.
A further letter dated back to August 25th was supplied to Dr St Rose in which Chief Medical Officer (CMO), Dr Sharon Belmar-George, formally lodged a complaint to the Medical and Dental Council against her because she had publicly advocated the use of ivermectin, contrary to the Health Ministry’s recommendation and for being in breach of the Pharmacy Act, by dispensing the drug as an unlicensed pharmacist and importing it.
Dr St Rose complained that she was only made aware of the letter dated August 25th after her attorney had requested more details regarding the charges brought against her. She faces potential disciplinary action with her registration being suspended or canceled, threatening her livelihood.
Standing Up for a Conviction
Despite this, Dr St Rose has not backed down from her belief that ivermectin is an effective and safe treatment for Covid-19. The fact that she faces disciplinary action has not deterred her from being an advocate of the anti-parasitic drug.
“I know negligence on my part would be not to persevere to make ivermectin available to our people and tell them about it,” the dermatologist, herbalist, and integrative health care specialist told St Lucia Times recently.
Dr St Rose was cast into the spotlight following her request for the Ministry of Health to retract their press release statement sent out back in February, warning against the use of ivermectin to treat or prevent people from contracting Covid-19. St Rose complained about the unsigned press release and has been actively trying to get the local medical authorities to approve ivermectin.
The press release from the Ministry of Health was issued just two months prior to the arrival of 24,000 doses of Covid vaccines to the island, on April 7, 2021, as part of the COVAX program, supported by the global effort between the Coalition for Epidemic Preparedness Innovations (CEPI), Gavi, the Vaccine Alliance Gavi, UNICEF, the Pan American Health Organization (PAHO) and the World Health Organization (WHO). As of October, 22 % of the population has had at least 2 doses.
COVID-19 Deaths on Rise
The graph below shows there has been a significant rise in Covid deaths in St Lucia from August onwards, post-vaccine rollout.
Support for Dr St Rose has been unwavering with many of her supporters sharing the sentiment of distrust in Big Pharma and the vaccines. Jody Von Whal, one of her supporters spoke to DBS Television saying, “It’s a shame what they’re doing to her, dragging her in front of the Medical and Dental Council, threatening her livelihood. The Prime Minister likes to say we are in defense of lives and livelihoods, yet the CMO along with the medical fraternity seems to want to put her livelihood in jeopardy for a drug that has a safety profile that is miles better than both the vaccines and regularly prescribed antibiotics.”
In nations around the world tension mounts between physicians and caregivers seeking to prescribe what they professionally deem as safe doses of ivermectin, as an off-label treatment for COVID-19 and national health authorities, which for the most part have all taken a hostile and oppositional position against the use of the drug. As TrialSite has reported there are exceptions—some nations have authorized the use of the drug if nothing else but as an emergency treatment.
However, the coordinated and orchestrated attempts to detract doctors and patients from the drug have been notable. For example, TrialSite has information that the World Health Organization (WHO) has been actively discouraging any national health department from promoting the drug.
There are other similar cases in other nations where passionate caring physicians find themselves in hot water with authorities. Another example is Dr. Jackie Stone in Zimbabwe. As TrialSite learned in an interview, Dr. Stone’s ivermectin-based protocol helped that country’s battle against COVID-19 yet top medical authorities seek to take away her license.