After The New York Times published an article about the use of ivermectin to combat COVID-19, claiming that 70% of recent calls to the Mississippi poison control center were related to ivermectin, they were corrected by an investigative journalist who pointed out that the real figure was 2%, not 70%.
The journalist, Mary Beth Pfeiffer, tweeted, “I contacted @nytimes & they corrected 8/25 ivermectin article. ‘This article misstated the percentage of recent calls to the Mississippi poison control center related to ivermectin. It was 2 percent, not 70 percent,’ says appended note. Sentence removed. Poof. But damage done.”
I contacted @nytimes & they corrected 8/25 ivermectin article. “This article misstated the percentage of recent calls to the Mississippi poison control center related to ivermectin. It was 2 percent, not 70 percent,” says appended note. Sentence removed.
But damage done. pic.twitter.com/bvc1SA9NUo
— Mary Beth Pfeiffer (@marybethpf) September 16, 2021
Pfeiffer added in an email to the New York Times editor, “Just an aside, it’s interesting that the sentence was dropped altogether. It was not a newsworthy fact to include any longer. The erroneous alert from which the incorrect statistic was taken is what started the entire campaign against ivermectin. It spurred the FDA tweet. The rest— the CDC alert, the AMA decision — is history.”
— Mary Beth Pfeiffer (@marybethpf) September 17, 2021
The “erroneous alert “ Pfeiffer referred to was issued by the Mississippi State Department of Health on August 20. ABC 12 reported:
According to the alert, the Mississippi Poison Control Center has received several calls related to the ingestion of ivermectin meant for livestock, which is causing illness in COVID-19 patients. Ivermectin is approved for use in both people and animals, but animal drugs are highly concentrated and can be highly toxic in humans.
According to the health alert: No one has been hospitalized due to ingestion of the drug. At least 70% of the recent calls have been related to ingestion of livestock or animal formulations of ivermectin purchased at livestock supply centers. 85% of the callers had mild symptoms.
The August 21 FDA tweet that Pfeiffer referred to stated, “You are not a horse. You are not a cow. Seriously, y’all. Stop it.”
You are not a horse. You are not a cow. Seriously, y’all. Stop it. https://t.co/TWb75xYEY4
— U.S. FDA (@US_FDA) August 21, 2021
The FDA tweet linked to an article by the FDA that stated:
There seems to be a growing interest in a drug called ivermectin for the prevention or treatment of COVID-19 in humans. Certain animal formulations of ivermectin such as pour-on, injectable, paste, and “drench,” are approved in the U.S. to treat or prevent parasites in animals. For humans, ivermectin tablets are approved at very specific doses to treat some parasitic worms, and there are topical (on the skin) formulations for head lice and skin conditions like rosacea.
However, the FDA has received multiple reports of patients who have required medical attention, including hospitalization, after self-medicating with ivermectin intended for livestock.
Here’s What You Need to Know about Ivermectin
The FDA has not authorized or approved ivermectin for use in preventing or treating COVID-19 in humans or animals. Ivermectin is approved for human use to treat infections caused by some parasitic worms and head lice and skin conditions like rosacea.
Currently available data do not show ivermectin is effective against COVID-19. Clinical trials assessing ivermectin tablets for the prevention or treatment of COVID-19 in people are ongoing.
Taking large doses of ivermectin is dangerous.
If your health care provider writes you an ivermectin prescription, fill it through a legitimate source such as a pharmacy, and take it exactly as prescribed.
Never use medications intended for animals on yourself or other people. Animal ivermectin products are very different from those approved for humans. Use of animal ivermectin for the prevention or treatment of COVID-19 in humans is dangerous.
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