How Dr. Paul Marik Saved a Grandmother & The World (Part 3)
America's most published critical care doctor made the greatest clinical breakthroughs of the pandemic, saving countless lives globally. Why did the media, government & big pharma try to destroy him?
Editor’s Note: This story was previously published on RESCUE as the first of a three-part series, “The Drug That Cracked Covid.” The series is now reissued because it is the definitive history of Dr. Marik’s discoveries and covid treatment protocols, developed with the FLCCC, that have saved countless lives in the U.S. and globally with FDA-approved generic drugs. Dr. Marik has distributed his state-of-the-art therapies freely to the world since the start of the pandemic and many scientists believe he deserves the Nobel Prize in medicine. Yet it is the first time in U.S. history that doctors en masse have been handcuffed from doing their jobs, and Marik’s own hospital has now forbidden him to give life-saving medicines to his patients. As Marik goes to court in Norfolk, Virginia, to fight for the right to doctor the sick in a historic trial, his story is at the heart of the global conflict over covid treatments and the Hippocratic oath. It is the biggest issue of our time. It is a fundamental change in the social contract between individuals and states worldwide that is dividing families and countries and alienating people from their once-trusted doctors and hospitals when they need them most.
As Kory left the Senate hearing room that morning in December after his ivermectin testimony, his face was dark with disgust. The hearing was dead before it started. When Republican Senator Ron Johnson of Wisconsin (with whom Kory decidedly shares no political sympathies) called the hearing on early COVID-19 treatments, The New York Times ran an advance story eviscerating it as a panel of anti-science kooks promoting “fringe theories,” a “forum for amplifying dubious theories and questionable treatments pushed by President Trump,” including hydroxychloroquine. The hearing was boycotted by all seven Democrats (who have received a total of $1.3 million in big pharma bucks from Pfizer, AstraZeneca, Johnson & Johnson, Merck, Gilead, and others), and four of the seven Republicans, including Utah’s Mitt Romney (more than $3 million received from big pharma), Ohio’s Rob Portman ($542,400), and Florida’s Rick Scott (more than $1 million in stock in Gilead Sciences, maker of Remdesivir).
Michigan Senator Gary Peters, the Democratic chairman, walked out after reading an opening statement saying the hearing was “playing politics with public health.” Kory was outraged. “I want to register my offense at the ranking member’s opening statement,” he said. “I was discredited as a politician. I am a physician and a man of science. I’ve done nothing, nothing, but commit myself to scientific truth and the care of my patients.”
But the next day the assault continued. “All the gods of science and medicine” as Marik calls them, descended to crush the little Nobel-Prize winning pill. The New York Times headlined, “A Senate hearing promoted unproven drugs and dubious claims about the coronavirus,” slamming ivermectin as unproven, but never mentioning Kory or his testimony. In subsequent days, the WHO guidelines committee, after promising a thorough review for months, quashed ivermectin without a vote, as a lesser advising committee threw out all the strongest evidence first—including the WHO consultant’s own report—and “having thrown out most of the evidence,” Kory said, “they called the remaining few crumbs of very low certainty.”
Ivermectin is the generic name for Merck’s Stromectol, which they developed in 1981. Though the drug went off patent in 1996, Merck still distributes millions of doses each year in Africa for free, with a statue honoring the drug and the great humanitarian eradication effort in its headquarters and one at the WHO in Geneva. But recently Merck issued a stern warning that seemed written by marketing, Kory says, “as it had no scientific data to support the conclusion,” that ivermectin was suddenly dangerous. Another pharmaceutical company’s CEO privately noted that “People must think Merck knows what they’re talking about because it’s their drug,” but Merck has “tremendous disincentives” to say nice things about the generic pill, as it has already spent hundreds of millions of dollars developing an oral anti-viral COVID-19 treatment, rival to ivermectin, that may be priced at $3,000 a dose.
“I was discredited as a politician. I am a physician and a man of science. I’ve done nothing, nothing, but commit myself to scientific truth and the care of my patients.”
A news blackout by the world’s leading media came down on ivermectin like an iron curtain. Reporters who trumpeted the COVID-19 terror in India and Brazil didn’t report that ivermectin was crushing the P-1 variant in the Brazilian rain forest and killing COVID-19 and all variants in India. That ivermectin was saving tens of thousands of lives in South America wasn’t news, but mocking the continent’s peasants for taking horse paste was. Journalists denied the world knowledge of the most effective life-saving therapies in the pandemic, Kory said, especially among the elderly, people of color, and the poor, while wringing their hands at the tragedy of their disparate rates of death.
Three days after Kory’s testimony, an Associated Press “fact-check reporter” interviewed Kory “for twenty minutes in which I recounted all of the existing trials evidence (over fifteen randomized and multiple observational trials) all showing dramatic benefits of ivermectin,” he said. Then she wrote: “AP’S ASSESSMENT: False. There’s no evidence ivermectin has been proven a safe or effective treatment against COVID-19.” Like many critics, she didn't explore the ivermectin data or evidence in any detail, but merely dismissed its “insufficient evidence,” quoting instead the lack of a recommendation by the NIH or WHO. To describe the real evidence in any detail would put the AP and public health agencies in the difficult position of explaining how the lives of thousands of poor people in developing countries don’t count in these matters.
Not just in media but in social media, ivermectin has inspired a strange new form of Western and pharmaceutical imperialism. On January 12, 2021, the Brazilian Ministry of Health tweeted to its 1.2 million followers not to wait with COVID-19 until it’s too late but “go to a Health Unit and request early treatment,” only to have Twitter take down the official public health pronouncement of the sovereign fifth-largest nation in the world for “spreading misleading and potentially harmful information.” (Early treatment is code for ivermectin.) On January 31, the Slovak Ministry of Health announced its decision on Facebook to allow use of ivermectin, causing Facebook to take down that post and remove the entire page it was on, the ivermectin for MDs Team, with 10,200 members from more than 100 countries.
In Argentina, Professor and doctor Hector Carvallo, whose prophylactic studies are renowned by other researchers, says all his scientific documentation for ivermectin is quickly scrubbed from the Internet. “I am afraid,” he wrote to Marik and his colleagues, “we have affected the most sensitive organ on humans: the wallet...” As Kory’s testimony was climbing toward nine million views, YouTube, owned by Google, erased his official Senate testimony, saying it endangered the community. Kory’s biggest voice was silenced.
But Jan heard him. After a few minutes of watching the interview with Dr. Kory on New Year’s Day morning, she’d heard quite enough. Her fingers flew on a text to her daughter, Haley: “This is the drug Michael’s mother needs to be on…now!!!!...You need to take charge of Nonnis healing.”
Haley showed the text to her husband. But Michael Smentkiewicz wasn’t interested. He was skeptical. A doctor selling a “miracle drug” for COVID on the Internet sounded awfully fishy. “This channel is telling you, ‘You gotta take ivermectin,’ but you got people like QAnon, conspiracists, telling you what to take,” he said. He and his sister returned to the hospital parking lot to pray, and floated a cluster of mylar balloons, including a pink heart, up to their mother’s window. But nothing was working. Finally, he watched the video, and thought Kory was “incredible,” with top credentials, “and his passion is crazy.” Within minutes, “I called the ICU and told the attending physician, ‘We want my mother to be on this medication.’”
The doctor said no. Ivermectin wasn’t approved for COVID-19, and “we don’t experiment on our patients.” But Michael pushed harder. “I’m a bull,” he said. After several back and forths, a hospital administrator gave approval for one dose, 15 milligrams of ivermectin. Less than twenty-four hours later, “Mom is off the ventilator.”
The nurses were shocked. Michael was jubilant. The next day his mother was sitting in a chair talking to him on Zoom. But then Judy regressed. They moved her to a cardiac floor, her heart was racing, and “she was going downhill,” Michael says, and he asked the doctor for another dose of ivermectin. This time the “no” from the doctor and administration was final. That day the family retained Buffalo lawyer Ralph Lorigo, who studied Kory’s video and the FLCCC website and sued the hospital to give their mother more ivermectin.
Judge Henry Nowak of the New York State Supreme Court agreed to hear the case on an emergency basis as “a matter of life and death.” He ruled that a woman was dying in the middle of a pandemic with no known treatment for COVID-19 and a safe, long-established drug had affected her “miraculous turnaround,” and ordered the Millard Fillmore Suburban Hospital to immediately start Judith Smentkiewicz on four more doses of ivermectin, per her family doctor’s prescription.
The hospital refused to carry out the judge’s order. The hospital’s lawyer insisted on a hearing to make his case that no patient has the right to choose their own medicine. The debate ensued as Judy lay dying. “The world has gone mad,” Kory said. All over the world, people were fighting for their lives not only against the coronavirus but against their national public health societies, their most respected hospitals and long-trusted doctors for the right to use the little generic pill that cracked COVID-19.
Dr. Manny Espinoza was dying of COVID-19 in his Texas hospital when his wife, Dr. Erica Espinoza, asked the doctors to try ivermectin as a last resort, and was refused. Erica hired a life-flight helicopter to take Manny to the Houston hospital of FLCCC co-founder Joseph Varon for the cheap little pill that in four days had her husband sitting up smiling and telling their children about the “miracle” that saved his life. “We see this every day,” Dr. Varon says. “They say it’s a miracle, I say it’s the science, but it’s the truth.” In Atlanta, Georgia, eighty-four-year-old Lou Gossett Jr., the Oscar-winning black star of An Officer and a Gentleman, gravely ill with COVID-19, checked out of a hospital and was three days from his lungs failing, doctors said, when his son connected him with an FLCCC doctor in Florida who gave him ivermectin. Gossett quickly recovered and made a very short film for the FLCCC doctors that ends: “I’m very grateful to all of you for literally saving my life.”
In Cushing, Oklahoma (pop. 7,826), Dr. Randy Grellner saw Kory’s testimony and started giving his patients ivermectin, which he’d used safely for years for parasites, for COVID-19 because he was “tired of the heartache…tired of the misery…I’ve seen enough death and despair.” In a few weeks the overwhelmed clinic dropped from twenty-five new COVID-19 cases a day to two. “The first thing that surprised me was how fast was the recovery in seventy-five and eight-five-year-old people,” Dr. Grellner said. “I know there’s controversy. I have no political motivation. I don’t have any desire except to put husbands and wives back together. If you’re getting problems from an organization that you work for that says you can’t use it, I would question that organization. If we’re not doing what is best for the patient, then we need to find another occupation.”
In Buffalo, after a forty-minute hearing on the fate of Judy Smentkiewicz, the lawyer for the Millard Fillmore hospital agreed that she could take ivermectin if the family doctor delivered the prescription, and after a lot of hassles (including the hospital couriering ivermectin from another hospital), “At eleven o’clock that night she was administered the second dose of ivermectin,” Lorigo says. She immediately started improving. With three more doses of ivermectin, he said, “she’s off the cardiac floor, she’s back on the COVID floor, she’s cured of COVID, she’s released.”
A week later, Natalie Kingdollar, whose sixty-five-year-old mother Glenna Dickinson was dying of COVID-19 on a ventilator in Rochester General Hospital—the doctors had exhausted all treatment options—read the Buffalo News story of Judy’s recovery, a life-saving flicker in the media blackout, and persuaded the ICU doctors to give her mother ivermectin. Twelve hours later, after one 12 mg dose that her daughter picked up at Walgreens for eighty-three cents, Glenna’s vitals were much improved. She was “completely stable and doing much better,” Lorigo said. They reduced her ventilator 50 percent, no longer had to “flip” her from her back to her belly for better oxygen flow, and they moved her to a “step-down ICU.”
Glenna’s doctor, who prescribed the ivermectin, is Thomas Madejski, internist and chief of medicine at Medina Memorial Hospital, former president of the New York State medical society, a clinical instructor in medicine and pharmacy at the University of Buffalo, who sits on the Board of Trustees of the American Medical Association as an expert in geriatric medicine. As medical director of a nursing home he says he has successfully used ivermectin to quell COVID-19 among elderly patients in three New York counties.
Now Dr. Madejski, who has treated Glenna for fourteen years, prescribed a full course of ivermectin to complete the treatment, and was denied. The ICU doctors and Rochester General refused to administer the medication because ivermectin isn’t approved to treat COVID-19 by the FDA (the budget of which, as it happens, is 75 percent funded by big pharmaceutical companies). Another state supreme court judge, relying on the science provided by Pierre Kory and the FLCCC, ordered the hospital to dispense a handful more of the pills, per the doctor’s script, and Glenna got off the ventilator and is now home, cured of COVID-19.
A few days before Judy was released from the hospital, the writer of this story was interviewing her son Michael about the happy news that she was headed home, but he said the doctors were waiting a few more days because she was still a little “breathy.” Alarm bells went off in my mind after many interviews with Pierre Kory. I got word to Dr. Kory, who called Michael Smentkiewicz, who heard the doctor’s voice and became emotional. “It’s him, it’s the guy,” he said, holding his phone out for the family to hear. “Listen to his voice.” Kory walked the rehab center through the complicated step-down use of corticosteroids for elderly COVID-19 patients that is more attentive than the one-size-fits-all government protocols, which cause of lot of needless deaths when doctors treat on cruise control, Kory says. After a month in rehab, Judy went home, happy and healthy, to her children and her grandchildren.
She was quite amazed to learn from her children that while she was lying unconscious and near death with COVID-19 she became a front-page story in The Buffalo News and a Joan of Arc figure in a new revolution, the grandmother who won the first legal fight in the battle of ivermectin. It is an unprecedented civil rights uprising of doctors, nurses, scientists, Nobel-Prize winning biologists, billionaire health philanthropists, civil rights activists, and thousands of ordinary people across Europe, Asia, South America, Africa, Canada, and the United States fighting a global, big-data-driven medical establishment. They’re fighting for the lost little things, the little data—the sanctity of the doctor-patient relationship, the survival of the Hippocratic Oath, and the most important of civil rights, the right to life.
Kory sometimes despairs at the forces against him. “Our little ivermectin has so many big enemies,” he says. “It’s David versus ten Goliaths.” But word is getting out. More than twenty countries representing some 20 percent of the Earth’s population use ivermectin, many in their national protocol. Every day it seems Kory hears from someone like the Toronto doctor, a Bulgarian, who used Kory’s data to convince the health ministers in his home country to sign on. Kory talks every day to his growing base of 17,000 Twitter followers, and his peer-reviewed paper on ivermectin recently exploded online as one of the most-discussed scholarly papers ever posted out of seventeen million tracked by Altmetric.
“This is what being a doctor is,” Dr. Berkowitz said. “It says in the Talmud, if you save one life, you save the entire world.”
Every Wednesday night, Kory stars in an FLCCC webinar hosted by former CBS correspondent Betsy Ashton that is an ivermectin 60 Minutes, with Kory talking to the public and answering their questions. Recently he reported that Mexico, the “light and model of the world,” solved an India-like COVID-19 crisis last fall by testing and treating the population with ivermectin, and now has some of the lowest case and death rates on the globe. He also posted an interview with a prominent surgeon and hospital owner in Visakhapatnam, India, who treats many COVID-19 patients in the tragic current “COVID tsunami,” and passed on the hopeful news that the All India Institute of Medical Sciences in New Delhi has recently approved ivermectin for early and home treatment, “a game changer for India and for the world,” the surgeon said. Ivermectin “saved India in 2020 after it got official permission in Uttar Pradesh in August followed by many other states,” he wrote, but starting in January with many political changes, it “has been getting BAD propaganda by big pharma and big scientists,” and many doctors stopped using it, collapsing prevention and home treatment and seeding the crisis of overloaded hospitals and many needless deaths.
“We BEG health agencies and mainstream media in other countries,” the Indian doctor wrote, “NOT to give BAD PROPAGANDA of ivermectin. Ivermectin is saving India and Africa.”
As he reported the news that night, Kory expressed disgust with “the physician-scientists in the ivory towers and public health agencies” who are “just not getting it.” It was up to doctors now to save lives as the scientists are “completely disconnected to how to treat this disease and what to do.” His mentor takes the longer view. “The saddest thing for us is we know this can make a difference and save lives,” Marik says, “and it seems like nobody really cares and wants to listen to us.” But “we feel we can’t be silenced, we just can’t be, because you know the truth will ultimately prevail.”
“This is how science always progresses,” says Dr. Berkowitz, who takes hope from the recovery of Judy Smentkiewicz. “This is what being a doctor is,” he said. “It says in the Talmud, if you save one life, you save the entire world.”