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In April, after noticing that the word ivermectin was trending on Twitter amid Elon Musk’s move to buy the company, the FDA reprised its disingenuous “horse dewormer” smear of the drug as a treatment for COVID-19.
“Hold your horses, y’all. Ivermectin may be trending, but it still isn’t authorized or approved to treat COVID-19,” said a post on the FDA’s Twitter account.
During the pandemic, Twitter and other social media platforms censored positive mention of ivermectin and hydroxychloroquine despite the countless testimonies and dozens of studies from around the world showing the drugs to be effective in treating COVID-19.
A follow-up FDA post said: “Also, a reminder that a study showed it didn’t actually work against COVID.”
Dr. Pierre Kory, who has testified to the Senate of the effectiveness of ivermectin against COVID-19, fired back.
“You are not a horse, you are not a cow, you are Big Pharma’s ass,” he tweeted.
In an article published in April for the Brownstone Institute, Kory wrote that it’s “a tried-and-true tactic with effective and dastardly results” for “Big Pharma and other well-financed interests” to sponsor purportedly impartial medical trials “aimed at discrediting cheaper generic alternatives.’
“Ignoring the flaws in the methodology, the media runs wild with the desired narrative, which is amplified by a well-orchestrated public relations effort,” he wrote.
Kory cited as an example the newly reported clinical trial from Brazil known as “TOGETHER,” which he said ostensibly aimed at studying the effectiveness of ivermectin to treat COVID.
Among the flaws was the lack of explicit exclusion criteria for trial participants on ivermectin, meaning both trial groups had access to the same drug. Further, the treatment window was set for only three days, which didn’t allow for adequate dosing, and the trial was conducted during the massive gamma variant surge, which was one of the most virulent and deadly COVID variants.
“The dosage of the trial was far lower than everyday Brazilian clinicians were prescribing patients at the time to match the strength of the strain,” Kory pointed out.
“In spite of these and other readily apparent shortcomings, the nation’s leading media gobbled up the results. ‘Ivermectin Didn’t Reduce Covid-19 Hospitalizations in Largest Trial to Date’ blared the Wall Street Journal, while a New York Times headlined announced, ‘Ivermectin Does Not Reduce Risk of Covid Hospitalization, Large Study Finds.’”
Meanwhile, social media platforms stifled conversations while California pushed potentially precedent-setting legislation to punish doctors “who dare question phony studies,” threatening loss of a medical license.
A similar study of ivermectin “of far larger size, conducted by investigators without any conflicts of interest, found the drug led to massive reductions in Covid infection, hospitalization and mortality—yet it received virtually no media coverage.”
Kory said that ending “this cycle of perpetual disinformation requires revamping our dysfunctional drug approval process.”
“An independent board free of pharma industry conflicts must be established to oversee trials for re-purposed medicines,” he said. “Recommendations should be based on trials designed by impartial experts and actual results, not the desired ones, and policymakers or prescribers who ignore the findings should be held accountable.”
And academia and the regulatory agencies must be reminded, he said, “that observational trials data – wherein a sample of population who take a drug are compared to those who do not – is equally valid at informing policy.”
“Randomized controlled trials can yield useful information, but their complexity, costs, and delays to treatment lead to errors and effectively shut out low-cost drugs from the approval process, regardless of their efficacy,” he said.