Horse-Bleep: How 4 Calls on Animal Ivermectin Launched a False FDA-Media Attack on a Life-Saving Human Medicine, by Mary Beth Pfeiffer and Linda Bonvie

There has never been such an ungrounded and intense official effort to prevent the use of a proven safe and effective human drug. From Mary Beth Pfeiffer and Linda Bonvie at rescue.substack.com:

Our investigative reporters dug up the FDA memos documenting the start of a propaganda campaign, and got The New York Times to correct its false reporting.

The Propaganda That Started The Big Lie:

In a hokey tweet on August 21, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration told Americans the obvious: “You are not a horse. You are not a cow. Seriously, y’all. Stop it.”

Everyone knew what “it” was: an animal form of the drug ivermectin that folks were said to be using, widely, for covid-19. Don’t, said FDA.

Within two days, 23.7 million people had seen that Pulitzer-worthy bit of Twitter talk. Hundreds of thousands more got the message on Facebook, LinkedIn, and from the Today Show’s 3 million-follower Instagram account.

“That was great!” declared FDA Acting Commissioner Janet Woodcock in an email to her media team. “Even I saw it!” For the FDA, the “not-a-horse” tweet was “a unique viral moment,” a senior FDA official wrote to Woodcock, “in a time of incredible misinformation.”

There was one problem, however. The tweet was a direct outgrowth of wrong data—call it misinformation—put out the day before by the Mississippi health department. The FDA did not vet the data, according to our review of emails obtained under the Freedom of Information Act and questions to FDA officials. Instead, it saw Mississippi, as one email said, as “an opportunity to remind the public of our own warnings for ivermectin.”

The story behind the tweet that went ’round the world shows how a myth was born about a safe, if now controversial, human drug that was FDA-approved for parasitic disease  in 1996  and bestowed the Nobel Prize in Medicine in 2015. It is a story in which the barest grain of truth morphed into an anything-goes media firestorm.

It began with one sentence in a Mississippi health alert on reports to the state’s poison control center: At least 70% of the recent calls have been related to ingestion of livestock or animal formulations of ivermectin purchased at livestock supply centers.” In the thick of a fierce covid wave in the American South, no official at the FDA, or reporter for that matter, seemed to ask: 70 percent of what? Instead, government and media joined forces against a public health threat that, in retrospect, was vastly exaggerated.

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