The Hawaii Medical Board filed a complaint against the state’s top medical adviser for Maui county on Thursday as state lawmakers called for him to be fired following reports that he has recommended the use of the livestock drug ivermectin and the malaria drug hydroxychloroquine to prevent and treat Covid-19.

The Honolulu Star-Advertiser reported Wednesday that Dr. Lorrin Pang had confirmed his support of the use of ivermectin and hydroxychloroquine to prevent and treat Covid. But he said he does not endorse all of the views espoused by a coalition he helped create that is spreading unsubstantiated or disproved claims about Covid, including a claim that the vaccines can cause miscarriages and reproductive health issues.

Pang, who has served for more than two decades as the head of the Maui District Health Office and keeps an office in the State Office Building in Wailuku, acknowledged in an email Thursday that ivermectin and hydroxychloroquine can be harmful to patients. He said he and his family are fully vaccinated and that he has overseen the administration of tens of thousands of shots to Maui residents.

Ahlani Quiogue, executive officer of the Hawaii Medical Board, also filed a complaint against another Maui doctor, Kirk Milhoan. Pang and Milhoan, a pediatric cardiologist and pastor at Calvary Chapel, are co-founders of The Pono Coalition for Informed Consent, a website that calls the Covid vaccines “experimental” and advocates instead for the use of discredited drugs to prevent and treat the respiratory disease.

House Speaker Scott Saiki gavels into legislature special session this morning only to recess and reconvene at 230pm.
House Speaker Scott Saiki joined a group of legislative leaders in sending Gov. David Ige a letter on Thursday calling for Dr. Lorrin Pang to be immediately fired. Cory Lum/Civil Beat/2021

Quiogue said the pair would be investigated by the Regulated Industries Complaints Office. If the complaints are substantiated, RICO can then pursue a settlement or a contested-case hearing. The Hawaii Medical Board could then discipline the doctors by suspending or revoking their medical licenses.

Other disciplinary actions the medical board could take against Pang and Milhoan include limiting the scope of their practice, requiring education or training and imposing fines of up to $5,000 per violation, plus the costs of the disciplinary proceedings.

Also Thursday, state Sen. Rosalyn Baker joined a group of legislative leaders to urge Ige and the Health Department to immediately fire Pang for his “alarming and outrageous” endorsement of unapproved and discredited drugs to prevent and treat Covid, saying, “We don’t need to be treated by quacks.”

She also called the Hawaii Medical Board on Wednesday and requested that it revoke his medical license.

“He has violated the very oath that he should have taken when he got his degree,” Baker said on the Senate floor. “He definitely is violating the trust of everyone who might think, because he is the district health officer of Maui, that he knows what he’s talking about.”

Other signers to the letter sent to Ige included House Speaker Scott Saiki, Senate President Ronald Kouchi and the chairs of the House and Senate health committees, Rep. Ryan Yamane and Sen. Jarret Keohokalole.

Ige strongly condemned the misinformation being perpetuated by The Pono Coalition for Informed Consent, but the governor has refused to answer questions about what actions might be taken against Pang.

Health Department Director Libby Char also issued a statement condemning the misinformation and also did not answer questions about Pang.

Milhoan has told Civil Beat recently that he has been doing free house calls for Maui residents who are ill, giving out home testing kits for Covid to people who want to avoid coming onto the radar of the Hawaii Department of Health and providing people hydroxychloroquine and ivermectin to prevent and treat the virus.

Dr. Lorrin Pang is Maui County’s top state health official and a physician. Lorrin Pang

The Federation of State Medical Boards, of which the Hawaii Medical Board is a member, recently warned that any health care professional who promotes misinformation about the vaccines may jeopardize their medical license.

“Due to their specialized knowledge and training, licensed physicians possess a high degree of public trust and therefore have a powerful platform in society, whether they recognize it or not,” reads the statement issued in July by the FSMB. “Spreading inaccurate Covid-19 vaccine information contradicts that responsibility, threatens to further erode public trust in the medical profession and puts all patients at risk.”

Ivermectin is a drug commonly used for deworming large farm animals, such as cows and horses. It is less commonly prescribed to people in limited doses as a parasitic treatment. 

Hydroxychloroquine is approved to treat malaria, as well as rheumatoid arthritis and certain autoimmune conditions.

Both drugs have been widely discredited for use in fighting the effects of a Covid infection, although non-medical online communities and conservative news sites still promote them. The U.S. Food and Drug Administration has warned the drugs can cause serious harm or death when misused.

Civil Beat reporter Lauren Teruya contributed to this report.

Civil Beat’s coverage of Maui County is supported in part by a grant from the Nuestro Futuro Foundation.

Read Dr. Lorrin Pang’s statement sent Thursday to media outlets:

Help Power Local, Nonprofit News.

Across the nation and in Hawaii, news organizations are downsizing and closing their doors due to the ever-rising costs of keeping local journalism alive and well.

While Civil Beat has grown year over year, still only 1% of our readers are donors, and we need your help now more than ever.

Make a gift today of any amount, and your donation will be matched dollar-for-dollar, up to $20,500, thanks to a generous group of Civil Beat donors.

About the Author