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Ivermectin: Crony Capitalist Case Study

Ivermectin: Crony Capitalist Case Study
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Ivermectin has shown tremendous promise in the fight against COVID-19, but governments around the world attack and discredit those who promote its use.

“Why is the FDA attacking a safe, effective drug?” asks a recent op-ed in the Wall Street Journal. Despite dozens of studies demonstrating the promise of ivermectin to prevent and treat COVID-19, the government continues to attack its use in the pandemic. One likely reason is that widespread use of ivermectin as prophylaxis against COVID undermines vaccine uptake as well as the legal basis for emergency use authorization (EUA) for the vaccines.

We reviewed some of the substantial evidence base for ivermectin and COVID-19 in previous coverage. There are 60 studies on ivermectin and COVID; 39 have been peer-reviewed. As our friends at ANH International point out, no other known substance can deliver the 88% improvement for prophylaxis, 75% improvement for early treatment, and 43% for late treatment that ivermectin has demonstrated.

Read the FDA’s statement, though, and you’d find scary words like “seizures, coma, and death,” from ivermectin—despite more than 3 billion doses of ivermectin administered safely over 40 years.

What explains this disconnect? For one, ivermectin is off-patent, meaning Big Pharma can’t make billions from it, so the FDA attacks it to clear the market for more expensive alternatives. We believe the FDA did something similar in attacking brain health supplements like vinpocetine and picamilon, clearing the way for new blockbuster Alzheimer’s drugs that mostly flopped, or more recently have created a firestorm of controversy for gaining approval despite being ineffective.

The existence of a viable alternative to treat COVID-19 also throws a wrench in the works of the government’s COVID vaccine roll-out. Recall that all of the current COVID vaccines operate under EUAs, which are granted on the condition that no other viable alternatives exist. If ivermectin is recognized as a viable alternative, the criteria for granting an EUA for a COVID vaccine no longer exist, and the government’s vaccination campaign falls apart.

Government agencies can’t seem to agree on ivermectin. After meeting with members of the Front Line COVID-19 Critical Care Alliance who shared the scientific rationale for using ivermectin against COVID-19, the National Institutes of Health’s Treatment Guidelines Panel upgraded their designation for the drug from “against” to “neither for or against,” which is the same recommendation given to monoclonal antibodies and convalescent plasma, both widely used across the nation.

All of this underlines how broken the healthcare system in this country is. The government pushes expensive, often dangerous medicines for COVID (remember remdesivir, a drug that was barely better than placebo at reducing COVID mortality?) and other illnesses while ignoring low-cost alternatives that either cannot be strongly patented or are off-patent. Big Pharma and their government cronies want mandatory vaccines, not ivermectin, as the answer to COVID because vaccines will make the most money. Why spend the exorbitant sums on clinical trials for ivermectin and COVID when the patent protection wouldn’t be as strong, the market exclusivity period is shorter than for new drugs, and the potential pool of patients is substantially smaller than for vaccines, since everyone, sick or not, gets the vaccine while only those who are sick would receive a drug for COVID?

Until this situation is fixed, we will continue to pay exorbitant prices for worse health outcomes.

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