Area Physician Goes to Bat Against Bureaucratic Tyranny

  • And he is taking the bat into the bar on his own.
  • Supposed health related boards are more about their own biasis than patient health 

Below is the pro se lawsuit (representing oneself without an attorney and not as a formal class action but with implications for those similarly situated) undertaken by local physician and former state senator David Hartsuch. His personal experience and ability to articulate the issues make this champion for people’s health the right person to make the case.  His press release and the filing are self explanatory as to the crux of the matter.

For Immediate Release.  

Date: 12/19/2022
From: Sen David Hartsuch, MD MS

Iowa Doctor-and Former Senator
Accuses Boards of Unlawful Activity
Former Iowa Senator, David Hartsuch, MD Filed lawsuit today against the Iowa Boards of Medicine and

Pharmacy hoping to protect the rights of Iowa patients and their physicians from unlawful Board activity.

The Iowa Boards is unlawfully suppressing physician speech and prescribing in order to promote the State narrative surrounding COVID-19 and prevent patients from receiving early life-saving treatment.

In March of 2020, the Boards emailed a joint statement to physicians and pharmacists to discourage patients from receiving treatment with hydroxychloroquine (HCQ) or Azithromycin (a common antibiotic used to treat bronchitis which frequently accompanies the disease.)

When Dr. Hartsuch noticed that the original statement was sent out without Board approval, he petitioned the Board to formally consider the matter and provided scientific information which supported the importance of early intervention with HCQ.

In October 2020, the Boards issued a revised joint statement allowing the use of the drugs. However, then Director of the Board of Medicine, Kent Nebel, refused a request of Dr. Hartsuch to directly inform all licensees of the change in Board policy. The Director also ignored certain FOIA requests by Dr. Hartsuch requesting the scientific basis for their original policy. Dr. Hartsuch, was shocked to discover that despite the Board’s policy allowing this prescribing, they were carrying out investigating physicians who treated their patients this way.

Similarly, the Board of Pharmacy has refused to enforce Board rules prohibiting discrimination based upon disease. As a result, pharmacy chains have unilaterally denied patients with COVID-19 right to access these life-saving drugs.

Dr. Hartsuch said, “Patients rely upon State Boards to protect their health rather than restrict access to care. Instead, these Boards have tag-teamed patients with a simultaneous body slam; The Board of Medicine silenced doctors by threatening their doctors while the Board of Pharmacy prevented patients from receiving early life-saving treatment.

For over two years, they have assaulted patients and as a result people have died. I am hopeful that this lawsuit will shed light into this dark area of government and bring the action of the Boards into conformance with Iowa Law. I am hopeful that Governor Reynolds will now intervene. Patients need tagging out.”

Dr. Hartsuch can be reached for comment at 563-508-9266.

COMES NOW Plaintiff, David Hartsuch, M.D., pro se with his petition in equity for injunctive relief and in support thereof states to the court as follows:

  1. That Plaintiff, David Hartsuch, M.D., is a practicing emergency medicine physician residing at 2127 Nicholas Court, Bettendorf Iowa, 52722 located within Scott County Iowa. He is a licensee of both The Iowa Board of Medicine and The Iowa Board of Pharmacy.
  2. That Defendant, The Iowa Board of Medicine is an agency of The State of Iowa responsible for determining the qualification and fitness of physicians to practice medicine in The State of Iowa and has a duty to uphold the ethical practice of medicine. The Iowa Board of Medicineis domiciled in The State as is headquartered at 400 SW 8th St., Des Moines, IA 50309.
  3. That Defendant, The Iowa Board of Pharmacy is an agency of The State of Iowa responsible for determining the qualifications and fitness of pharmacists to fill prescriptions in The State of Iowa and has a duty to ensure that pharmacists do not discriminate against patients based upon disease state. The Iowa Board of Pharmacy is domiciled in The State as is headquartered at 400 SW 8th St., Des Moines, IA 50309.
  4. That both Defendants operate under Iowa Administrative Rule §17A.
  5. That the Court has subject matter jurisdiction by Iowa Administrative Rules §17A.19 Plaintiff to appeal this Board action to the Iowa District Court.

Vs. )





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  1. That the Plaintiff has exhausted all administrative remedies, and The Board of Medicine has issued their decision and closed the Plaintiff’s case file. (See attached “Warning” Letter)
  2. That the Plaintiff is an aggrieved party with an actual judiciable controversy.
  3. That the “Warning” letter is actually a penalty as described in paragraph 27 below.
  4. That Defendant Boards have taken joint and separate actions to discourage Plaintiffs patients from receiving certain lawful prescription drugs in order to treat COVID-19, and tortiously interfered with the Plaintiff’s right to treat, and his Patient’s right to receive treatment for COVID-19.
  5. That On March 26, 2020, The Defendant Boards issued a “Joint Statement” discouraging the prescribing of Hydroxychloroquine as well as Azithromycin (a common anti-biotic used to treat bacterial co-infection common with viral illness such as COVID-19).
  6. That this “Joint Statement” was communicated to licensees via email. (See attached Original Joint Statement.)
  7. That the Plaintiff successfully petitioned the Board of Medicine to amend their policy for the use of Hydroxychloroquine.
  8. That on Sept. 11, 2020, the Defendant Boards issued a revised joint statement allowing physicians to prescribe Hydroxychloroquine without incurring disciplinary action by the Boards. (See attached Revised Joint Statement)
  9. That, the Director of the Board of Medicine, then Kent Nebel, refused a request by the Plaintiff to inform all physicians by email of the new policy in the same manner as the original Joint Statement.
  10. That this left most Iowa physicians and pharmacists unaware that it was permissible to use hydroxychloroquine, Azithromycin or other “off-label” drugs to treat COVID-19.

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  1. That The Iowa Board of Pharmacy worked to discourage pharmacists from filling prescriptions for these life-saving drugs. This was done without any assessment by the Board of the Safety or efficacy of these drugs.
  2. That as a result, Iowa Pharmacists discriminated against patients with COVID-19 by refusing to fill lawful prescriptions for Hydroxychloroquine and Ivermectin to treat COVID-19.
  3. That one of the Plaintiff’s patients filed a complaint with The Iowa Board of Pharmacy against a licensed pharmacist who refused to fill a prescription for Ivermectin solely because the drug was used to treat COVID-19 in violation of The Iowa Board of Pharmacy rule §657 8.11 (3) for discriminating against patients based upon disease state. (See Patient Complaint.)
  4. That shortly thereafter, The Iowa Board of Pharmacy informed the complainant that the Board of Pharmacy was not going to take any action.
  5. That shortly thereafter, The Iowa Board of Medicine informed the Plaintiff that they initiated an investigation of a complaint received from the pharmacist. (See Investigation Letter.)
  6. That in comparison to the Board of Pharmacy’s very brief non-investigation of a legitimate violation of law, The Board of Medicine undertook a lengthy 9-month investigation against the Plaintiff.
  7. That the Plaintiff denies the factual basis of the complaint and asserts that there was no available predicate for the investigation.
  8. That the investigation was itself was Ultra Vires due to a lack of predicate contained within Iowa Law, and that it had a “chilling effect” on the rights of the Plaintiff and his patients to free speech and to petition for the redress of grievances.
  9. That the Iowa Board closed Plaintiff’s investigation file and issued a “Warning” Letter.

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  1. That this “Warning” is a per se violation of the right to free speech and legitimately places the Plaintiff in fear of communicating with any pharmacist at all.
  2. That the Plaintiff also alleges that the Board has deprived him of the right to Procedural and Substantive Due Process by imposing a penalty without a contested hearing and based upon an Ex Parte hearing of the investigatory file.
  3. That this “Warning” is an actual penalty due to certain disclosure requirements of the Board.
  4. That the Board of Medicine has adopted disclosure policies and required the Plaintiff to disclose the “Warning” contrary to IAC 652—24.2(5) which states, “A letter of warning or education is an informal communication between the board and the licensee and is not formal disciplinary action or a public document.”
  5. That Plaintiff alleges that the Board has established Board Rule 653 – 2.10 that allows for sharing disciplinary and investigative information including the “Warning” in question without the Plaintiff’s knowledge to a broad list of the private, including the American Medical Association, the Federation of State Medical Boards, the Iowa Medical Association, etc.,
  6. That such disclosure is a violation of Iowa Code 652—24.2(5) and these outside organizations have no legal duty to maintain this information in confidence.
  7. That disclosure to these organizations encumbers the Plaintiff’s professional life and might result in employment or other losses to Plaintiff.
  8. That the disclosure requirements imposed by the Board make the “Warning” the professional equivalent of a scarlet letter to publicly embarrass the Plaintiff.
  9. That The Board said that it “reserved the right to take this matter up again if necessary” without a real conclusion to the investigation

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  1. That the “Warning” letter did not address other charges which the Board of Medicine might want to pursue in the future.
  2. That the status of these other items greatly impairs the Plaintiff’s ongoing free speech on subjects including treating COVID-19, giving informed consent about the COVID-19 vaccine, petitioning for redress of grievances, and sharing scientific and medical knowledge with other interest parties including patients.
  3. That these Joint and separate actions of The Defendant Boards constitute an ongoing violation of the First Amendment and other rights of the Plaintiff and his patients.
  4. That Plaintiff requests the court to expunge the “Warning” from his otherwise spotless record and seeks to have the entire complaint closed without prejudice so that he can resume the practice of medicine without a cloud of impropriety.
  5. That Plaintiff requests the court to enjoin the Board from releasing the “Warning” to any outside parties including other government agencies in conformance to IAC 652—24.2(5).
  6. That Plaintiff further asks the court to require the Defendant Boards to inform all licensees byemail of the Boards’ Revised Joint statement dated September 11, 2020 revising their original“chilling” language against the use of Hydroxychloroquine.
  7. That Plaintiff seeks an injunction to prevent The Iowa Board of Medicine from performing anyinvestigations of himself and other licensees without a proper investigational predicate and to require the Defendants notify all investigation subjects of the grounds for disciplinary action listed in Iowa Code §148.6 or other Code which constitutes the basis for the investigation.
  8. That Plaintiff seeks injunctive relief to require that The Iowa Board of Pharmacy to equally enforce the provisions of pharmacy rules Sec. 657 8.11(3) regarding non-discrimination on the

Page 5 of 6

basis of disease state and to require that pharmacies fill prescriptions for hydroxychloroquine and ivermectin like all other prescription drugs.

  1. That the actions of the Defendant Boards significantly transgressed Iowa Law and theConstitution, interfered with the proper medical treatment of his patients, and impaired the civil rights of Dr. Hartsuch and his Patients protected by the First Amendment including the right to petition for redress of grievances.
  2. That granting of the requested remedies is consistent with Iowa Law and will mitigate the irreparable injury to the Plaintiff, his patients, and the public at-large.

WHEREFORE, Plaintiff, David Hartsuch, M.D. prays that this Honorable Court will expunge the Plaintiff’s record and close his case without prejudice, enjoin the Boards from releasing information about this case including the “Warning”, require that the Boards inform all licensees by email of the Boards’ Revised Joint Statement dated Sept. 11, 2020, enjoin the Boards from engaging in investigations against the Plaintiff or other licensees without a proper investigational predicate, require that the Iowa Board of Pharmacy equally enforce the provisions of Iowa Pharmacy Board Rule Sec. 657 8.11(3) regarding discrimination based on disease state, and such further relief as this honorable Court deems just and equitable in the premises.

Respectfully Submitted:
___/S/ David Hartsuch M.D.______

David Hartsuch, MD, Pro Se 2127 Nicholas Ct. Bettendorf, IA 52722
Ph: 563-508-9266

Fax: 563-202-7302
Email: [email protected]


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One Response to Area Physician Goes to Bat Against Bureaucratic Tyranny

  1. Leone says:

    The last thing these tyrants want, a real doctor practicing real medicine.
    Thank-you Dr. Hartsuch

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