As the controversy over the use of Ivermectin to treat or prevent COVID 19 continues, telehealth companies are again in the spotlight for pushing the controversial drug. Several telehealth companies are offering patients access to the controversial anti-parasite drug which is rumored by some groups to be an effective treatment for COVID-19, The Guardian reported.
Ivermectin is currently being investigated as a treatment for coronavirus SARS-CoV-2, which is the virus that causes COVID-19. The FDA has not approved ivermectin for use in treating or preventing COVID-19 in humans. The World Health Organization (WHO) recommends that ivermectin should only be used in patients with COVID-19, during clinical trials.
Here are five things you should know:
- At the top of a Florida-based telehealth website, there is a bright orange banner that reads, “Looking for ivermectin? Click here.” The website also assures patients that they have fast shipping and high-quality medications, according to the report.
- Misinformation online has fueled rumors that ivermectin can treat COVID-19, but physicians have said there is no evidence to back the claims. The CDC and FDA warned in August that COVID-19-positive patients should not use the drug.
- Some anti-vaccine activists are directing patients to telehealth providers that will offer up the drug, according to the report. At least three of these sites have ties to a right-wing political group, America’s Frontline Doctors, according to The Guardian.
- Telehealth company MyFreeDoctor promotes ivermectin on its website. It was founded by America’s Frontline Doctor’s member Ben Marble, MD. SpeakWithAnMD is also frequently promoted on social media accounts that endorse ivermectin. It works in partnership with America’s Frontline Doctors and charges $90 for consultations.
- Stella Immanuel, MD, a member of America’s Frontline Doctors, posted on her medical practice’s Facebook page that they are getting more than 700 patients a day signing up for visits to get ivermectin, The Guardian reported.
Recently, three prominent medical groups — the American Medical Association, American Pharmacists Association and American Society of Health-System Pharmacists voiced their opposition to the ordering, prescribing and dispensing of ivermectin to treat COVID-19 outside of clinical trials. Ivermectin is most often used to treat parasitic worms in animals. It isn’t an antiviral and the FDA has warned against using it to treat COVID-19, but some physicians have been prescribing it to treat the disease.