- Demand for the unproven COVID-19 treatment ivermectin has skyrocketed recently.
- A group founded by a Capitol riot defendant prescribes the drug, charging $90 for the consultation.
- The Food and Drug Administration doesn’t recommend ivermectin as a COVID-19 treatment.
On the group’s website, a page for “COVID-19 medication” walks through the process for getting your hands on a prescription.
“Click on the contact a physician button below. Fill out the form and pay $90. The physician will call you typically within 2-7 days,” the page says, adding that you will then be able to pay for the medication and have it sent to your door through Ravkoo Pharmacy, a digital pharmacy company.
The page directs you to the website Speakwithanmd.com to book your consultation. Upon filling out the form, a prompt asks you to select the medication you are interested in. The drugs ivermectin and hydroxychloroquine are options, though it says what you are prescribed will depend on your consultation.
As of Thursday night, selecting ivermectin prompted a message saying, “Unfortunately due to the national shortage of Ivermectin, at the current time ivermectin is unavailable for treatment,” adding that hydroxychloroquine was an “alternative option.”
Neither medication has been endorsed by US public-health authorities as COVID-19 treatments, but both have been promoted against the recommendations of public-health officials. Ivermectin, an antiparasitic drug commonly used to treat worms in horses and cows, is the latest unproven treatment to take hold in some online circles.
The Food and Drug Administration said last week that it had received reports about patients who were hospitalized after “self-medicating with ivermectin intended for horses,” urging people to stop.
But ivermectin can be prescribed to humans in some cases, which is how America’s Frontline Doctors is able to write prescriptions for the drug. The FDA said that while research into the use of ivermectin as a COVID-19 treatment was underway, it had not reviewed data that would support its use. The FDA also noted that medications intended for animals were different from those taken by humans.
Still, ivermectin has garnered a lot of support in online communities opposed to vaccination, NBC News reported. Some Facebook groups promoting the drug have gained tens of thousands of members.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention issued an emergency health advisory on Thursday warning that there had been a “rapid increase” in ivermectin prescriptions as well as reports of people becoming ill after using some ivermectin products to try to prevent or treat COVID-19. The agency said calls to poison-control centers reporting overdoses of the drug were also on the rise.
Gold, the doctor who founded America’s Frontline Doctors last year, has downplayed COVID-19, criticized vaccines for it, and spread other falsehoods about the coronavirus.
Gold was charged with violent entry and being on restricted grounds during the Capitol riot on January 6. She confirmed to The Washington Post that she was in the building but said it “was not a riot” where she was.