By Jonathan Lange, columnist
The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has now officially joined the ranks of federal agencies that have scuttled their own credibility with media-enabled nonsense.
At 5:57AM on a Saturday morning, August 21, it issued the folksy tweet: “You are not a horse. You are not a cow. Seriously, y’all, stop it… Using the drug Ivermectin to treat COVID-19 can be dangerous and even lethal. The FDA has not approved the drug for that purpose.”
By Monday morning, as if on cue, every compliant media outlet from Seattle to Miami published articles as if this were a serious problem. Rod Miller was the first out of the gate in the Cowboy State. He profanely opined, “I sure as h— wouldn’t ingest it [Ivermectin].” He failed to notice that over a billion doses have been given to human beings since 1988. In all that time, and in 125 countries, zero deaths have been tied to its use.
What is more, the FDA approved Ivermectin for human ingestion in 1996 and it made the World Health Organization’s “Model List of Essential Medicines” in 2019. Nevertheless, the FDA deliberately created a narrative that Ivermectin is horse medicine. The condescending, “y’all” was calculated to paint anyone who might imagine otherwise as uneducated yokels.
Soon Cowboy State Daily reporter Ellen Fike parroted the narrative by calling Ivermectin an “anti-parasitic medication most often used to treat livestock.” While admitting that the FDA had approved it for human use, the unmistakable point was that Ivermectin is not FDA-approved for treating COVID-19.
In the pharmaceutical industry, this is called “off-label” use. Doctors do it all the time some for good, and some for ill. As this column discussed several weeks ago, Testosterone is regularly prescribed off-label to minor girls! For more examples, Wikipedia has an entire page on the subject.
What good could come of prescribing Ivermectin for COVID-19 off-label?
Here is where it gets interesting. Barely a month after COVID-19 hit America, researchers submitted a paper to Antiviral Research that found Ivermectin to be effective against COVID-19 in the lab. It turns out that the same properties that make it effective against parasites also make it promising against viruses.
Before the paper was even published, the FDA issued a “Letter to Stakeholders” that threatened “FDA investigation and potential enforcement action” against any doctor with the temerity to try it against COVID-19. The letter stated: “Additional testing is needed to determine whether ivermectin might be safe or effective to prevent or treat coronavirus or COVID-19.” It then went on, bizarrely, to warn against people taking Ivermectin packaged for animal use.
Okay. That’s a weird caution. But at least we could expect the FDA to do the additional testing that would either prove or disprove the effectiveness of Ivermectin as a treatment for COVID-19. After all, thousands were dying daily, and millions of cases were available for Randomized Controlled Trials that could provide a definitive answer.
One might think that while granting “emergency use authorization” to Remdesivir, two mRNA injections (Moderna and Pfizer), and one vaccine (J&J) against COVID-19, the FDA could have included a study of one of the safest drugs known to man.
But, alas, 17 months later and we still have no such study. Nor has the FDA updated its guidance based on multiple external studies. Rather, on August 21, 2121 we got a snarky tweet bringing up the same unlikely scenario that it had imagined on April 10, 2020.
The intellectually curious soon asked: Where are all these people slurping down ointments intended for cows? Dr. Jason McElyea went on the Rachel Maddow show to say that they lived in Oklahoma. In the very heart of hick-dom, supposedly, so many people were ill from taking “horse de-wormer” that gunshot victims were turned away from emergency rooms. Rolling Stone even put his claims into print. But he was lying.
The hospital issued a statement saying that Dr. McElyea didn’t currently work there, and that it had treated no cases of Ivermectin abuse—not a single one. We are still waiting to meet the knuckle-draggers that the FDA is so worried about.
Why am I taking up this subject? I am no doctor—not even a veterinarian.
But two things kept me from passing over this ridiculous tale. First, a newspaperman, whom I respect, asked me to address it. Second, people are tired of lies. They just want to know what is real and go about their daily lives. If Ivermectin is proven ineffective, just show the receipts. But don’t peddle silly narratives that make even Rolling Stone print a correction.
Truth begins with accountability for lies told. People need and deserve reporters and columnists who will publicly apologize for public falsehoods. Where that doesn’t happen, they will look elsewhere for reliable information, and they should.
Second, those at the CDC and FDA, who have spent a year and a half failing to study Ivermectin, should be put out of a job. The Centers for Disease Control was created to control diseases, not to control the narrative. Seriously, y’all. Stop it.