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To the editor: In an Oct. 15 letter to the editor ("Sloppy use of language"), Nichael Cramer criticizes the Reformer for calling the use of ivermectin to treat COVID-19 “controversial.” Cramer’s point is that characterizing “the use of crackpot treatments for COVID such as ivermectin ... as being ‘Controversial’ is no different from labelling the claims of ‘Flat Earth’ proponents as a ‘Controversial Theory of Geography’ or writing that searches for Bigfoot are based on ‘Controversial Biology.’”

Cramer’s objection is to the headline of an Oct. 14 article titled: “Controversial COVID drug difficult to get dispensed,” by Chris Mays. As a news piece, Mays' report is exemplary, presenting contrasting views of two local physicians, as well as comments of a pharmacist, and of two Vermont officials.

Cramer does not take issue with Mays' excellent reporting, only with the headline, stating that, “a disservice is done to their readers and to their community when ... [news] sources indulge in this sort of sloppy usage of language.”

Unfortunately, Cramer’s press critique fails to meet a cardinal rule of journalism: “Check the facts.” Had he done so, Mr. Cramer might have been surprised to find on the National Institute of Health (NIH) website, an article titled, “Review of the Emerging Evidence Demonstrating the Efficacy of Ivermectin in the Prophylaxis and Treatment of COVID-19” from the 2021 May-Jun; 28(3): e299–e318 American Journal of Therapeutics. [https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC8088823/]

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After a detailed analysis of numerous studies, that article concludes:

"In summary, based on the totality of the trials and epidemiologic evidence presented in this review along with the preliminary findings of the Unitaid/WHO meta-analysis of treatment RCTs and the guideline recommendation from the international BIRD conference, ivermectin should be globally and systematically deployed in the prevention and treatment of COVID-19.”

Re-publishing the Journal of Therapeutics article does not mean that the NIH endorses its conclusions, but it certainly means that the NIH does not dismiss it it as the equivalent of Flat Earth. And — contrary to Mr. Cramer’s view — the NHI's own position is that: “There is insufficient evidence for the COVID-19 Treatment Guidelines Panel (the Panel) to recommend either for or against the use of ivermectin for the treatment of COVID-19,” [https://www.covid19treatmentguidelines.nih.gov/therapies/antiviral-therapy/ivermectin/] which is the epitome of "controversial."

My own comment is that barring physicians the right to prescribe ivermectin in safe doses is a reprehensible disservice because this denial of legitimate help pushes desperate people into attempting to self-medicate with veterinary ivermectin.

Steven K. Brooks

Brattleboro, Oct. 18