When you visit the “COVID-19 Info” page on Austin Compounding Pharmacy’s website, it tells you in no uncertain terms that “taking Ivermectin once a week will decrease your risk of infection and reduce the severity if you do contract COVID-19.” There is no evidence that is true.
Texas pharmacies also offer a special order formIt lists 10 COVID-19 drugs, but none have been approved by The Food and Drug AdministrationIt is used to prevent or treat the disease. Ivermectin is at the top, followed by hydroxychloroquine (which has been proved to be ineffective against COVID), and a list of non-prescription items to create your own “Corona Six Pack.” The choices include zinc, melatonin and a pulse oximeter because, according to the form, “Oxygen saturation is important.”
Ivermectin has been a persistent myth as a treatment for COVID. People across the nation continue to go through great lengths to obtain it, in spite of warnings by the FDA. Centers for Disease Control and PreventionIt is not approved by state pharmacy boards for use against the coronavirus. The anti-parasitic drug can be taken in pill form by humans. Large quantities of it are also available over-the-counter for livestock.
Big names like Alex Jones, founder of Infowars and Joe Rogan have helped to boost the medicine’s effectiveness. There are many other ways to help. least two people have died after taking ivermectin instead of being properly treated for COVID, but some brick-and-mortar pharmacies are risking their reputations and patients’ safety by continuing to dispense it, filling prescriptions generated by sometimes-shady practices.
The right-wing media machine makes sure that people know there are many ways to obtain ivermectin if they want it. Tucker Carlson is Fox News’ host for September. askedMark McDonald will be giving his advice to the audience by psychiatrist Mark McDonald. “It depends on where you go,” the anti-vaccine doctor said. “Chain pharmacies: very, very difficult. Supplies are available at small pharmacies and independents as well as compounding pharmacies. It is possible to find it if one looks for it. But you often have to make many, many phone calls.”
It actually doesn’t take as many calls as McDonald seems to think. A HuffPost investigation found dozens of independent community pharmacies dispensing ivermectin, and many, as McDonald suggested, are compounding the drug themselves — that is, purchasing ingredients from a wholesale distributor, combining them on their premises and putting the mixture into capsules. These capsules, unlike ivermectin directly from the manufacturer are not FDA approved. According to one widely shared list,Prescriptions are being filled in at least 76 pharmacies throughout 28 states (15 in Florida), and in five other countries.
This list isn’t exhaustive. Online users are sharing details about pharmacies they have found that were willing to help them with their ivermectin searches. These pharmacies have made the conscious decision to buck the science to meet a soaring demand, cashing in on the drug’s enduring time in the spotlight.
What and Where?
At the height of the ivermectin-craze reached its peak in late summer, “quack telehealth prescribers” (as one pharmacist in Maine put it to Time magazinePeople who were willing to pay for consultations received prescriptions in an indiscriminate manner. The Frontline Covid-19 Critical Care Alliance (FLCCC) — which has played a major role in promoting ivermectin, as HuffPost recently reported — created the list of 78 pharmacies to point would-be customers in the direction of businesses willing to distribute ivermectin for off-label use. Many of these pharmacies are in-person, real-life operations. Most are compounding pharmacies. Or have compounding abilities
HuffPost received confirmations from many pharmacies listed on the FLCCC List that they were compounding their own ivermectin. This practice goes beyond the borders: HuffPost reached out randomly to seven compounding pharmacies in the country to confirm that they will create ivermectin tablets for customers who have a prescription. Five said that they would make ivermectin, while one claimed it had only tablets. One said it wouldn’t fill any COVID-19 prescription.
One pharmacist tried to make sure that their powder met regulatory standards. However, the FDA clearly states that compounded medicines are not allowed. NotTheir organization approved the product. This warning is also found on many pharmacy websites. But it hasn’t stopped people from seeking it out.
The easiest method to obtain ivermectin COVID is through compounding pharmacies. Professionals at retail pharmacies can usually tell when an ivermectin prescription isn’t intended to treat parasites (which is its primary governmentally approved use).
“When you look at the dose used for roundworm, it’s usually a single dose, a few tablets max, maybe repeated a few times,” Anne Burns, a pharmacist and vice president for practice affairs at the American Pharmacists Association, told HuffPost, referring to one of the drug’s FDA-approved uses. “The way it’s being dosed for COVID-19 is several tablets or more a day, or over multiple days. There’s a pretty significant discrepancy.”
It is not uncommon for compounding pharmacies to fill prescriptions with ivermectin. Austin Compounding Pharmacy Offers a one-hour, $100 COVID consultation with Tom Schnorr (Pharmalist and Owner), who was recently told local mediaThe pharmacy gets 300 prescriptions each day. “If you treat it when you get infected, you don’t have to go to the hospital,” he said of ivermectin and COVID. (Major medical association contradict claims like these. Below their prescription request form, there’s another page with a copy of the FLCCC’s I-MASK+Protocol to prevent COVID, HuffPost previously reportedIt was popularized in America by, as a COVID-19 treatment.
“A medication should really only be compounded because it needs a special dose, a special dosage form or because of an allergy.”
Town & Country Compounding Pharmacy in Ramsey, New Jersey, has also gone all in on ivermectin. Its website features a pop-up that asks “Interested in ivermectin?” and directs visitors to a “frequently asked questions” page, which includes a link to the FLCCC’s list of known prescribers. You can find the following: YouTube videoWritten by John Herr in late August as part of the delta variant surge. He nameschecks FLCCC protocol and urges patients to use it.
Similar to the Pensacola compounding pharmacy, a link is provided on their website that takes you to a form. One pharmacy in Wichita (Kansas) has detailed information regarding ivermectin, such as the dosages their pharmacists are making.
These details are available from other pharmacies, which can also be reached at any time. The recording at one independent pharmacy in Charlotte, North Carolina, features a voice recording instructing callers to “press zero [if] you’re calling about ivermectin,” before patching through a member of their staff. The hold message in Prescott encourages people to call the number and ask questions about ivermectin.
Pharmacies in Kennett Square, Pennsylvania, and Jacksonville, Florida, confirmed in late September that they were selling both ivermectin tablets and compounded capsules but predicted they wouldn’t have any by mid-October because supplies were backordered.
HuffPost reached out to pharmacies across the country, from New Jersey to Pennsylvania and Florida to Colorado. They all said that they compound prescriptions instead of making tablets. This allows for custom dosages as well as meeting demand. The person who answered the phone at one business even said of compounded ivermectin, “Personally, I think it’s better” — because it’s more “pure.”
Ivermectin is manufactured by the U.S. pharmaceutical company Merck as well as other generic manufacturers, and it’s distributed internationally. When asked if the company was aware of compounding pharmacies ordering wholesale ivermectin ingredients to make their own capsules — and whether it had any plans to stop it — Merck referred HuffPost to a general statementThere were no information available about the February use of Ivermectin.
Although government regulators have been aware of the widespread use of ivermectin, they haven’t done anything to end it. In a statement to HuffPost, FDA spokesperson Jeremy Kahn said the agency is “aware that some compounders may be advertising or producing ivermectin for uses related to COVID-19. This is something that the FDA strongly opposes. At this time, the safety and efficacy of ivermectin for the prevention or treatment of COVID-19 has not been established.”
But when further pressed about whether the agency plans to crack down on the off-label compounding, the FDA wouldn’t comment further.
Kathryn Seelman (owner and pharmacist of Twelve Corners Apothecary) in Rochester, New York has worked as a pharmacist for twenty years. For the past six, she has also run her own compounding pharmacy. She said she’s gotten many requests for ivermectin but has refused to compound it for COVID-19, noting that most of the requests have come from new patients she’s never worked with before.
“A medication should really only be compounded because it needs a special dose, a special dosage form or because of an allergy,” Seelman told HuffPost. “There’s really no reason pharmacies are not using commercially available products with doses we know to be safe.”
Though some compounding pharmacies reached by HuffPost claimed they turned to compounding because of a supply issue, Seelman said she’s seen no evidence of an ivermectin shortage and is able to get it directly from manufacturers if needed. “Some pharmacies are more willing to take the risk and make money off it,” she said.
The business of prescribing ivermectin has proved to be remarkably lucrative for right-wing medical groups and telemedicine platforms, such as America’s Frontline Doctors (AFLDS). It is as The Intercept reported this month, customers pay “$90 for a phone consultation with ‘AFLDS-trained physicians’ who prescribe treatments such as hydroxychloroquine and ivermectin to prevent and treat Covid-19.” The meds are delivered by Ravkoo, a drug delivery service that works with local pharmacies.
According to The Intercept’s math, AFDS has made nearly $7 million on consultations alone. Außerdem a Time report earlier this month revealed that Ravkoo has made approximately $8.5 million off of filling unproven COVID-19 treatments — chief among them ivermectin.
Meanwhile, the feverish accusations of conspiracies — by the government, by pharmaceutical companies, by the global elite — preventing proper COVID treatment continue. In late September, Rep. Louie Gohmert (R-Texas) wrote an opinion article headlined: “The Coordinated Attack on Ivermectin Is a Crime Against Humanity.”
“What the globalist elites and the medical establishment won’t tell you is that those who discovered ivermectin and its use to treat parasitic diseases won a Nobel Prize in 2015 — it was the Nobel Committee for Physiology or Medicine’s only award for treatments of infectious diseases in six decades,” Gohmert wrote in the Sept. 29 article on the conservative website American Greatness.
And though there are still only a relatively small handful of pharmacies filling these off-label prescriptions, proponents of ivermectin — mostly conservative political and media personalities — have begun to criticize pharmacists who refuse.
Mercedes Schlapp was a communications consultant for the Trump Administration. recently tweeted, “Doctors are finding it more and more difficult to prescribe Ivermectin through the pharmacies. The @GOP leadership should make every effort to ensure that prescribed medication is available to patients. There should be an investigation into this.” Her husband, Matt Schlapp, chair of the American Conservative Union, chimed in a few days later: “Doctors who are prescribing Ivermectin can’t find pharmacies to fulfill it. Any therapeutic that is proven to work is cancelled.”
People who are hypnotized about ivermectin have begun to apply pressure. Burns, of the American Pharmacists Association, said, “We’ve heard from many pharmacists pressured by patients and pressured by doctors to fill them.” Though she did not provide specific details about the incidents, she said that patients in locations throughout the country have reportedly been “irate” and have demanded that a pharmacist fill their prescription. One video posted to Twitter last week shows a customer repeatedly telling a pharmacist that not filling his ivermectin prescription is “against the law.” (“No, it’s not,” the pharmacist replies, correctly.)
Aggressive demand for ivermectin will continue as long as organizations like the AFLDS and the FLCCC keep pushing it, and as long as local news organizations keep publishing stories with headlines like “Woman Says Controversial COVID-19 Treatment Ivermectin Saved Her Life.” With doctors readily available to make a quick buck on a simple phone consultation, vaccine skeptics will continue to seek alternatives — and, in many cases, their local pharmacy will be all too happy to help.