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State clears top Maui health official who faced widespread backlash over his COVID statements

The state has dismissed complaints that the top public health official on Maui was spreading misinformation about the coronavirus.
Published: Apr. 4, 2022 at 7:03 PM HST|Updated: Apr. 5, 2022 at 11:09 AM HST
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WAILUKU (HawaiiNewsNow) - The state has dismissed complaints that the top public health official on Maui was spreading misinformation about the coronavirus.

Dr. Lorrin Pang, the state Department of Health’s Maui district health officer, faced major backlash last year for his support for controversial COVID-19 treatments.

Pang said he was not allowed to speak with media until after the investigation was completed.

“I did want to give a statement to all the people who supported me in this time of crisis,” he told Hawaii News Now on Monday. “It’s been going on about seven months. From all over, the immediate community, nationwide, even international people.”

Pang was under investigation by the state’s Regulated Industries Complaints Office, the enforcement agency within the Department of Commerce and Consumer Affairs, for supporting the use of COVID treatments like hydroxychloroquine and ivermectin.

Hydroxychloroquine is a drug used to prevent or treat malaria and lupus. Ivermectin is used as a livestock dewormer, and it’s also used to treat certain parasitic roundworm infections in humans, depending on the formulation.

DOH and federal health leaders have said that neither of those drugs should be used to treat COVID.

Pang said he faced criticism from top state officials and was ordered to defend his medical license.

RICO determined last week that Pang did not violate any laws.

“When somebody threatens your job and your license, I never had that before,” said Pang. “I’ve gotten awards from what I’ve done … I’m waiting maybe someday the people might apologize to me.”

The Punahou graduate has been the state’s top health official on Maui for more than two decades. At 69, Pang has 40 years of medical experience. However, he said he is not ready to retire just yet.

“There’s couple more projects that are very important that I want to finish up. We are publishing as we speak a big intervention for rat lung disease,” he said. “Vaping. kids, please don’t vape. The obesity issue never got resolved. Now we have the opiate issues.”

Pang thanked his supporters while appearing to hold back tears.

“Their emotion and sentiments were so powerful that I was actually moved,” he said.

DCCA officials did not return Hawaii News Now’s calls for more information on the matter.

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