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CONCORD, New Hampshire (LifeSiteNews) – A newly-proposed bill in New Hampshire would make the state the first in the nation to approve ivermectin as an over-the-counter treatment for COVID-19.

HB 1022, introduced by Republican state Rep. Leah Cushman, permits pharmacists across New Hampshire to dispense the medication with a standing order. Ivermectin, a renowned anti-parasitic drug with anti-viral properties that data shows can effectively treat coronavirus, currently requires a doctor’s prescription for COVID-19.

Making the drug more widely available would save lives, Cushman, a registered nurse, told The Epoch Times. “I have absolutely no doubt lives will be saved if human grade Ivermectin was available to COVID patients,” she said.

The representative added that she expects her bill, which has seven other GOP co-sponsors, to clear the New Hampshire Health, Human Services, and Elderly Affairs Committee and pass the lower chamber. Republicans control both the state House and Senate. The bill would take effect 60 days after passage.

New Hampshire lawmakers previously supported a bill to ban COVID vaccine mandates and passports by government entities, which Republican Gov. Chris Sununu signed into law in July 2021. Other legislation advancing in the statehouse would prohibit private businesses from enforcing vaccination requirements.

‘This should be an option’

Studies have repeatedly demonstrated that ivermectin can reduce illness and death in COVID-19 patients. Randomized controlled trials have found that the drug curbs COVID hospitalization and symptoms, and a 2020 study reported that patients treated with ivermectin had a significantly lower mortality rate.

U.S. regulators have baselessly attacked ivermectin as the drug has gained prominence as an alternative COVID-19 treatment, however. Ivermectin is on the World Health Organization’s (WHO) List of Essential Medicines and has been administered to people more than 4 billions times with virtually no serious side effects, according to the WHO.

Last year, National Institutes of Health (NIH) upgraded its recommendation of ivermectin, allowing it as a treatment option for COVID following advocacy by Front Line COVID-19 Critical Care Alliance (FLCCCA), an organization of physicians who care for COVID patients and advocate for therapeutic protocols that include ivermectin. Nearly 2,400 physicians have endorsed the FLCCCA’s protocols, according to the the group’s website.

Dr. Paul Marik, founding member and chairman of the FLCCCA, testified in support of HB 1022 this month before the New Hampshire House health committee.

Marik, a critical care specialist who has treated hundreds of COVID patients and published more than 600 peer-reviewed papers, said that ivermectin is not a controversial issue “if you look at the science.”

“This is a cheap drug. It’s exceedingly safe. It’s exceedingly effective, and patients should be offered the right to use this drug,” he told lawmakers. “We’re not telling doctors what to do, but this should be an option, and if ivermectin had been promoted at the beginning of this pandemic, we would not be sitting here today.”

Marik pointed to 71 studies – including 31 randomized controlled trials – with more than 50,000 patients, that attest to the benefits of ivermectin for COVID-19. In late trials, the drug reduces mortality by 52 percent, he said. “As we see, this is a highly-effective drug, and ivermectin has never killed a single person. It is one of the safest drugs on the planet.”

In the WHO’s database for adverse drug reactions, ivermectin is potentially associated with just 20 deaths, all of which are thought to be linked to allergic reactions to the death of parasites, Marik noted. The database has already recorded 14,000 deaths and more than 2 million serious adverse reactions after COVID-19 vaccination, by contrast. Marik said the full death toll after the vaccines is likely undercounted by hundreds of thousands.

“So, somehow the SARS-CoV2 vaccines are safe and effective yet ivermectin is a dangerous horse deworming medicine,” he testified. “That’s an absolute, outright lie, and the data speaks for itself.”

“What is really interesting is ivermectin is safe in 79 countries in the world. Let me say that again: it is approved in 79 countries,” Marik continued. “So, somehow Japanese people, Indian people, Brazilian people can tolerate it safely, but it’s toxic in Americans. You have to be kidding,” he said.

The push to broaden ivermectin access in New Hampshire reflects a growing movement among state lawmakers across the U.S.

“I asked several legislators to put this into action in AZ. I hope they get it done,” Arizona GOP chairwoman Dr. Kelli Ward tweeted Monday, referring to a story about HB 1022.

Kansas, Indiana, and Oklahoma lawmakers have also introduced similar proposals.