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Ivermectin is an off-patent (generic), inexpensive medication which was originally produced by Merck. It has also been known by various trade names, including Stromectol and Sklice. It was made commercially available in 1981, and has been widely used since then for a variety of parasitic infections, as well as a few anti-viral applications. The patent for this self-proclaimed "wonder drug" expired in 1996, and it is now available from over a dozen generic manufacturers, for around $0.40 per dose (as of 2022). Due to its significant safety and effectiveness, it was added to the World Health Organization's List of Essential Medicines. Prior to the COVID-19 pandemic, about 30% of prescriptions in the United States for Ivermectin were for "off-label" use.[1] It is also widely considered to be an effective treatment for COVID-19 as suggested by numerous, constantly updated studies compiled online and by peer-reviewed studies worldwide.[2] The Chairman of the Japanese medical association announced in late August 2021 that physicians should use Ivermectin to treat COVID-19, but it was continuously suppressed by liberals in the United States. "A 5-day course of Ivermectin was found to be safe and effective in treating adult patients with mild COVID-19," according to a study published in a journal posted by the NIH's National Library of Medicine.[3] Its beneficial biological mechanism has been published by an NIH peer-reviewed article.[4]

Litigation by Judicial Watch uncovered that British physicians scientists recommended ivermectin to treat and prevent COVID-19,[5] yet this was withheld from the public during the pandemic.

Ivermectin has been described as:

a cheap, safe drug designed to treat parasites that had almost no known side effects ....

“We kind of thought, well, there’s no negatives to taking this,” said [a COVID patient]. “It’s not going to have any really bad side effects. If it could help, why not?” Within 24 hours, her fever was gone. After two days, Coutts felt completely herself again.[6]

The NIH wrote:

Ivermectin is a drug that many people will never have heard of. Yet thousands of villagers of all ages in communities scattered throughout the remotest parts of Africa and Latin America know its name, and some experts regard it as one of the greatest health interventions of the past 50 years. Ivermectin was brought to the commercial market place for multi-purpose use in animal health in 1981. Six years later it was registered for human use. This remarkable compound has improved the lives and productivity of billions of humans, livestock and pets around the globe, and promises to help consign to the history books two devastating and disfiguring diseases that have plagued people throughout the tropics for generations–while new uses for it are continually being found.[7]


Researchers at Queen Mary, University of London, published a paper in August 2021 which concluded that:

from the Bayesian meta-analysis for patients with severe Covid-19, the mean probability of death without ivermectin treatment is 22.9%, whilst with the application of ivermectin treatment it is 11.7%[8]

In the summer of 2021, a peer-reviewed journal found significant benefits from ivermectin:[9]

Moderate-certainty evidence finds that large reductions in COVID-19 deaths are possible using ivermectin. Using ivermectin early in the clinical course may reduce numbers progressing to severe disease. The apparent safety and low cost suggest that ivermectin is likely to have a significant impact on the SARS-CoV-2 pandemic globally.

A majority of studies show that ivermectin has been effective for early treatment and prophylactic use.[10]

FDA Stance

The FDA generally opposes, disparages, and downplays the benefits of early treatment for COVID-19.

The FDA has publicized isolated reports of patients who have required medical support and been hospitalized after self-medicating with ivermectin which was not food-grade, and intended only for horses. Ivermectin has been approved as safe for human use by the FDA, and thus can be used when prescribed "off-label" for new uses, such as treating COVID-19.

Ivermectin tablets are approved at specific doses for some parasitic worms, and there are topical (on the skin) formulations for head lice and skin conditions like rosacea. Ivermectin is not an anti-viral (a drug for treating viruses). Taking large doses of this drug is dangerous and can cause serious harm. Ivermectin preparations for animals are very different from those approved for humans.[11]

Randomized Trial Negative Results

Double-blind, randomized trial that included 476 patients and conducted at a single site in Cali, Colombia, did not support the use of ivermectin for treatment of mild COVID-19. Test patients were given drastically larger doses than would usually be prescribed, which resulted in side effects from over-dosing.[1] Larger trials may be needed to understand the effects of ivermectin on other clinically relevant outcomes.[12]

University of Oxford Study

The University of Oxford in the UK has added ivermectin to the Platform Randomised Trial of Treatments in the Community for Epidemic and Pandemic Illnesses (PRINCIPLE) study for the treatment of COVID-19. In small pilot studies, early use of ivermectin was able to lower viral load and the duration of symptoms in some mild COVID-19 patients.[13]

Competing COVID-19 treatments

Due to Ivermectin being out of patent, there is very little profit in selling it as a treatment. However, in December 2020 Merck signed a $356 million dollar supply deal for an alternative option, with NIAID. They would supply 60,000-100,000 doses of a new experimental COVID-19 treatment pill called "MK-7110" (formerly known as "CD24Fc"). OncoImmune originally created the drug, but Merck bought out that company for $425,000,000. Bill Gates' International Aids Vaccine Initiative agreed to distribute this new drug throughout developing nations. However, the entire undertaking was later discontinued.[1] [14]

Merck also hoped to make massive profit from another new drug they were working on, Molnupiravir. This was a newly developed protease inhibitor, which utilizes a mechanism identical to that of Ivermectin to stop viruses, but as a new drug, could be patented. The Defense Threat Reduction Agency provided $10,000,000 in 2013 and 2015 to Emory University, to develop Molnupiravir as a veterinary drug for horses, to treat equine encephalitis. NIAID contributed $19,000,000, and then handed off the drug to Merck and Miami-based Ridgeback Biotherapeutics. They immediately set to work getting ready to sell the new drug as a COVID-19 treatment, worth billions of dollars. It was slated to sell for $700 per treatment course. However, there were major safety concerns, even among some of its co-developers at Emory University. There were fears that Molnupiravir would cause serious side affects, including birth defects. It is sold under the brand name "Lagevrio."[1]

As Merck was working on their Ivermectin knock-off, Pfizer also joined the race with their own protease inhibitor, "PF-07321332" (Nirmatrelvir). This drug was also very similar in mechanism and function to Ivermectin, to the extent that it was given the nickname "Pfizermectin." Like Molnupiravir, this drug was designed to be a patent-protected replacement for Ivermectin, so price gouging would be possible.[1]

Experimental vaccines were also a major competitor to Ivermectin. Multiple pharmaceutical companies were seeking emergency approval for their new products, but that can only be granted if there are no pre-existing treatments which are effective and approved as safe. It was therefore of utmost importance that any other pre-existing medication be found ineffective, so their emergency use of the experimental vaccines could be approved.

See also