Note: after writing this article, but before publication, the paper in question was retracted by the preprint server it is hosted on “due to ethical concerns”. Also, because I know people will say silly things, I have never been paid by any pharmaceutical companies, hold no interests in drugs of any kind, and am funded entirely by the Australian state and federal governments, as well as a bit of money that I get from locking my stories on Medium for you all to read. I have no financial interests in any Covid-19 drugs, and honestly would love it if ivermectin cured the disease because then the pandemic would be over — I could go back to writing about whether chili peppers can stop heart attacks and that’d be much more fun.
Before you read this long story of potential fraud, check out Jack Lawrence and Nick Brown’s investigations. They inform this story, and are referenced in it — I have touched the surface of the actual fraud itself, but there is so much more if you are interested.
Ivermectin is an antiparasitic medication used to treat various types of worms and similar diseases. It’s pretty safe, widely in use across the world, and in most ways a useful medication to have on hand if you think you’ve been exposed to contaminated human feces, or if you just need to disinfect your sheep.
However, there has been a lot of hubbub over ivermectin for another reason. According to a number of ad-hoc groups across the world, as well as some scientific studies, ivermectin is a silver bullet against COVID-19. And while there may be some question about whether ivermectin works, with the World Health Organization recommending that it only be used to treat COVID-19 in the context of a clinical trial, there is also a lot of optimism about using it as a treatment. Half a dozen countries have officially promoted ivermectin as a drug for COVID-19, and it has likely been given to tens of millions of people across the world at…