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Joe Rogan returned to his hugely popular podcast on Tuesday after taking a week off because he contracted COVID-19. But rather than warning about the dangers of the virus, Rogan instead continued to spread misinformation about the vaccines and the efficacy of ivermectin.
Rogan announced last week that he had caught COVID-19 during a trip to Florida the previous week. Rogan told his followers in an Instagram video that he was feeling “great” and that he had “thrown the kitchen sink” at the infection, with a cocktail of drugs including high doses of vitamin C and D, monoclonal antibodies, and, controversially, ivermectin.
Rogan’s admission that he was taking ivermectin was roundly criticized in the media because the drug has not been approved for use in treating COVID-19. Ivermectin, which is best known as a horse dewormer, is prescribed to humans as an antiparasitic drug, but a study that claimed it was effective against COVID-19 was withdrawn due to plagiarism and “serious problems with their raw data.”
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recently issued a warning about the increased use by COVID-19 patients of veterinary formulations of ivermectin, citing a case of a man who suffered hallucinations, confusion, and tremors after he drank an injectable form of ivermectin intended for cattle. He was hospitalized for nine days.
But Rogan didn’t have to get his ivermectin from his local feed store. He told his podcast listeners that he was recommended the drug by Dr. Pierre Kory, who was a guest on one of Rogan’s previous episodes. Rogan said multiple doctors recommended the drug, and that it was prescribed to him by his own doctor.
Rogan took issue with the media’s coverage of his decision to take ivermectin:
“They tried to make it seem like I’m doing some wacky shit that’s completely ineffective,” Rogan said. “What they didn’t highlight is that I got better.”
Rogan seems to put the fact he got better down solely to his use of ivermectin. But he was also taking monoclonal antibodies, which are an FDA-approved COVID-19 treatment shown to be effective in the treatment of severe cases of COVID-19.
In an effort to prove he was not doing something dangerous, Rogan suggested that Japan had approved the use of ivermectin to treat COVID-19. But that is not true.
Rogan’s claim is based on social media posts suggesting the Japanese government had given the greenlight for using ivermectin to treat COVID, citing remarks from the chairman of the Tokyo Medical Association. While Haruo Ozaki did cautiously support the treatment, the association does not represent the country's government, which has not endorsed ivermectin for that use.
Rogan then went on to claim, without evidence, that the reason ivermectin had not been approved as a treatment for COVID was not down that it treats parasites rather than viruses, but because the government wants to force vaccines on the population.
“I don’t know what’s going on,” Rogan said. “You know, there is a lot of speculation. One of the speculations involves the emergency use authorization for the vaccines. That, in order for there to be an emergency use authorization, there has to be no treatment for a disease.”
He then went on to claim that it was all a big conspiracy by the large pharmaceutical companies who want to ensure they keep making money from vaccines.
“The grand conspiracy is that the pharmaceutical companies are in cahoots to try and make anybody who takes this stuff look crazy,” he said. “But what’s crazy is look how better I got! I got better pretty quick, bitch.”
Merck, the maker of ivermectin, is one of the world’s largest pharmaceutical companies.