BILL DYET AGAINST NEW ZEALAND HERALD 2

Case Number: 3113

Council Meeting: SEPTEMBER 2021

Verdict: No Grounds to Proceed

Ruling Categories: Accuracy

Overview

Bill Dyet complained about a story published in the New Zealand Herald on 2 September 2021 headlined Kiwis try to import unproven vet medicine Ivermectin for Covid. The story said there had been an increase in people trying to import the drug, sparking warnings from health authorities. It reported that Ivermectin had been briefly trialled during the early stages of the pandemic, but was found to have no scientific evidence supporting its use for Covid-19, and to be dangerous if self-prescribed. However, it had continued to be promoted through conspiracy groups, largely through social media, the story said.

Mr Dyet objected to the article, saying it was incorrect. “The Herald should be providing a properly researched article, not an emotive hit piece against the use of a treatment that does not conform to the official government response to the pandemic,” he said. Ivermectin had been proven to be very successful against Covid-19 and if this was not reported lives could be lost.

He included information about a paper and a review that Mr Dyet said demonstrated major reductions in mortality and morbidity from Covid-19 in those treated with Ivermectin. There were valid suspicions that Ivermectin was being deliberately suppressed, he said.

The Herald replied, saying they stood by their report, quoting a statement from Medsafe NZ which said “Medsafe and the Ministry of Health strongly recommends that Ivermectin is not used for prevention or treatment of Covid-19.” 

The story was a report on the increase in attempts to import Ivermectin, rather than an in-depth piece on its efficacy, so there was no need to traverse the controversy around whether it helps those with Covid-19. The story explains why there are concerns about Ivermectin use and quotes reliable sources, including a University of Auckland associate professor, the Ministry of Health, the company that manufactures the drugs and the US Food and Drug Administration. The Herald was entitled to rely on the views of those sources.

There are insufficient grounds for the complaint to proceed.

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