Doctor Sues Maine Medical Board Over Long-Term License Suspension for Prescribing Ivermectin

A doctor in Maine whose license has been suspended since early 2022 has sued her state's medical board, alleging that it violated her rights when it suspended her license.

The Maine Board of Licensure in Medicine (BOLIM) has prevented Dr. Meryl Nass from "engaging in her First Amendment rights by chilling the plaintiff’s free speech and assembly," states the complaint, which was filed in federal court in Maine.

The board, on Jan. 12, 2022, suspended Dr. Nass's license for 30 days without holding a hearing.

A preliminary investigation found that Dr. Nass "engaged in the practice of fraud, deceit or misrepresentation in connection with services rendered within the scope of the license issued," among other findings, the board stated.

The board also ordered Dr. Nass to undergo a neuropsychological evaluation by a board-selected psychologist.

The investigation was triggered by complaints, including one from a doctor who complained that Dr. Nass prescribed ivermectin to a patient who was diagnosed with COVID-19.

Ivermectin is a drug approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) to treat diseases stemming from parasites. Dr. Nass and others have prescribed it off-label for COVID-19, as some papers have indicated its effectiveness. The FDA has stated that doctors are able to prescribe it for COVID-19 but advises against it.

Another complaint accused Dr. Nass of disseminating dangerous information, pointing to an interview in which she questioned the effectiveness of COVID-19 vaccines and masks and noted that people who have recovered from COVID-19 enjoy robust protection against reinfection.

Board members said Dr. Nass's actions constituted "unprofessional conduct due to the spreading of misinformation about COVID-19" and accused her of promoting "harmful opinions."

The board later backed off the neuropsychological evaluation request until a challenge by Dr. Nass to the order was resolved and withdrew many of its findings after Dr. Nass requested dismissal of the action.

Dr. Nass has defended her statements at a series of hearings. Her license remains suspended until the adjudication of the complaints is concluded under an agreement between her and the board. Dr. Nass later asked for the suspension to be vacated, but the request was denied.

Alleged Violations

The new complaint alleges that the remaining grounds for discipline haven't been dismissed because the board is punishing Dr. Nass for protected speech.

That includes her prescriptions of ivermectin and hydroxychloroquine to patients who sought her out because they wanted one or both, according to court documents and testimony from the patients.

Dr. Nass also has acknowledged lying to a pharmacist about the purpose of one of the hydroxychloroquine prescriptions to ensure that the prescription was filled, following a 2020 statement by the Maine Board of Pharmacy. The board said that was an ethics violation. It has accused her of not taking detailed enough medical records while seeing the three patients remotely.

"The alleged faults committed by Dr. Nass, including failure to follow Maine telemedicine guidelines, inability to comprehend the medical literature, incomplete medical records, failure to properly communicate with patients, etc., were all shown to be without merit during testimony of board and licensee experts and testimony of the three patients at issue," the suit reads.

In the final hearing in the case against Dr. Nass, the three patients said they were satisfied with the treatment they received.

"Our encounter with her was very positive," Michael Balos, a pastor, said during the hearing. "I wouldn't do anything differently now."

Sarah Bishop, who was pregnant at the time, recalled calling her midwife's office after testing positive for COVID-19. The office stated that there was no medication to alleviate symptoms and that she should go to the emergency room if her symptoms worsened. That prompted her to seek out Dr. Nass, who prescribed hydroxychloroquine and azithromycin, both approved by the FDA for other uses. Ms. Bishop woke up the next day feeling "significantly better."

The patients testified that they were unaware for months that the board subpoenaed their records and that the board had never contacted them.

Dr. Paul Marik, an ivermectin proponent whose license is no longer active in any state, told the hearing that he reviewed the notes that Dr. Nass compiled for each of the patients and found them adequate. He also said Dr. Nass acted appropriately with the patients.

Dr. Nass's admitted lie to a pharmacist was done to secure an important drug, Dr. Marik said.

"Pharmacists started refusing to give hydroxychloroquine or ivermectin if it was for COVID, but they would give it for another diagnosis. So I can understand," he said. "Dr. Nass had a patient's interest at heart. So she was doing what she had to do to secure the ivermectin for her patient."

Dr. Nass is currently a member of the science advisory board for Children's Health Defense, a nonprofit that says it aims to educate the public on vaccine safety and other health matters.

“BOLIM’s conduct towards Dr. Nass incorporates the classic features of a smear campaign, including gaslighting, insinuations of insanity on the part of those who don’t toe the line, and the trampling of free speech," Mary Holland, president of the nonprofit, said in a statement. "The baseless suspension of Dr. Nass serves as a warning to other physicians to stick to the government script. Thankfully, Dr. Nass is courageous and is calling out BOLIM's bad acts.”

The board didn't respond to requests for comment.

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