Getting Ivermectin from Walmart — NOT!

The Resistance to Science Continues to be Stunning.

I believe that preparation is wise. Considering that COVID-19 seems to be making somewhat of a comeback (even here), it seems advisable to have a science-based treatment on hand if either my wife or I get infected.

Based on my research of the early treatment options, it is unequivocal that Ivermectin (IVM) has the best safety and efficacy combination. [Note that when we got infected in 2021, we both took Ivermectin and were over COVID-19 within a few days.]

I contacted our very competent primary care physician (who is not a fan of IVM, but respects our research and choices) and asked for a prescription. At our request, he sent it to Walmart (which is the most convenient location for us during the Summer).

Two days later we received an automated phone call from Walmart saying that it was in and could be picked up. Then we got a phone call from our physician’s office. The nurse said that the Walmart pharmacist had called them and said that we should get Paxlovid instead. Our doctor said that we did not want Paxlovid but IVM. The pharmacist then responded that they would not fill our IVM prescription!

A few days later we were at Walmart getting some groceries. I went to their pharmacy and asked to speak to the pharmacist. When she came over I asked what the story was. She said that getting IVM for COVID-19 treatment was a bad idea.

I introduced myself as a scientist and a rather knowledgeable person regarding COVID-19 early treatment options. I asked her to please explain why using IVM for COVID-19 therapy was a bad idea. Instead, she said that she was not comfortable overruling another Walmart pharmacist’s decision. I asked her: Is it Walmart’s official position not to fill IVM prescriptions for COVID-19 treatment?

She said no, that it was up to each of their pharmacists to make the call. She then said that in NY pharmacists have the right to deny a legal prescription. (She did not give me a citation, but here is an article about that. Note that there are rules about controlled substances or religious objections — but neither of these apply here.)

NY does require that a pharmacist who denies a legal prescription must forward that prescription to another nearby pharmacy. She did do that and told me that she believed that this other pharmacy would fill my prescription. (I had not used this other pharmacy as their GoodRX IVM cost was twice Walmart’s, and we do not have prescription insurance.)

I thanked her for that and said let’s get back to why this is a bad idea. Correct me if I’m wrong, but there are two main considerations for selecting a treatment drug: safety and effectiveness. She agreed and said that IVM was not safe.

I politely stated that the WHO has categorized IVM as one of the safest drugs ever (see here). She shrugged. (I was prepared to go into more detail about IVM safety (e.g., hereherehere, and here) but she didn’t argue with my WHO assertion.

I said IVM is likely safer than aspirin. She said that aspirin isn’t all that safe. I responded: Yet a consumer can buy an unlimited amount of aspirin from Walmart, no questions asked. Why aren’t you objecting to that? She shrugged again.

She said that the FDA page clearly was against IVM. I said yes but the title is very deceptive. If you carefully read the text, it is more saying that it is unsafe to use veterinary-grade drugs or to self-prescribe IVM. A recent addition also now says “If your health care provider writes you an IVM prescription, fill it through a legitimate source such as a pharmacy, and take it exactly as prescribed.” We are doing what the FDA is saying, right? She had no answer.

Since they were advocating Paxlovid, I asked if she had read the FDA’s EUA Fact Sheet for it regarding safety? Her answer was No. I pointed out that there were TEN (10) PAGES of “Established and Other Potentially Significant Drug Interactions”! Her response was “I’m not a fan of Paxlovid, but it is what the FDA is endorsing.”

Having made a good case for IVM safety — and getting no specific scientific evidence to the contrary — I decided to move on to the effectiveness part. Since I anticipated some resistance, I had printed out a one-page comparison of the scientific studies about early treatment test results for IVM and Paxlovid. I tried to hand it to her but she wouldn’t take it…

She said that there were three pharmacists at this Walmart and that it was a group decision to refuse to fill this prescription. (I noted that this statement contradicted what she said before that our denial was one other pharmacist’s decision.)

showed her that there were some hundred scientific studies about IVM and that the bottom line result is that IVM has 62% early treatment effectiveness. Compare that to what they (and the FDA) were endorsing, Paxlovid, which has 32% early treatment effectiveness. She said some of the IVM tests were rigged.

I said, OK let’s look at just the peer-reviewed early-treatment IVM studies. In that subset, IVM has 61% effectiveness, and Paxlovid has 36% effectiveness. She shrugged yet again. I said: Wouldn’t peer review eliminate most sketchy studies? Isn’t that the point of it? She said peer review can be manipulated. Hmmm.

I said yes, but in this case, why? No one would financially benefit. She said that there was a right-wing conspiracy. She then asked me why the FDA would be biased against IVM? I said because the FDA is being unduly influenced by the pharmaceutical industry — which can make no profit from selling a drug like IVM whose patent has expired. She said that she was no fan of Big Pharma. I said good!

I summarized my case by saying that IVM is unquestionably safer than Paxlovid, with a much more exhaustive safety profile (due to some 4 billion human doses to date). That left effectiveness as the only issue.

She and her associate were questioning the IVM effectiveness despite dozens of scientific studies (including RCTs, and peer-reviewed) that concluded that IVM was MUCH more effective for early treatment of COVID than Paxlovid. She offered no scientific evidence that favored Paxlovid.

Further, their Walmart pharmacy fills off-label legal prescriptions all the time — and do not require that the consumers or their doctor provide scientific studies to prove safety and effectiveness. Why here? (No answer.)

The worst case here is that my wife and I would be taking a placebo. We don’t believe that is the situation, but if it is, why does that rise to the level where Walmart pharmacists are refusing to fill our legal prescription? (No answer.)

She reiterated that when NYS pharmacists choose not to fill a legal prescription, NYS requires them to pass on the prescription to another pharmacy that would fill it, and that is what she had done. I thanked her for doing that.

I again handed her my page of information, plus my business card. This time she took it. We ended on a cordial note, which was my objective.

IMO this story is about whether some medical professionals are acting in the public’s best interest, or are they instead protecting their interests? Draw your own conclusions. I’m hopeful that this IVM lawsuit against the FDA will expose that.

PS — These are likely the same people who say that we should accept what the consensus of scientists say about Climate. Here the consensus of scientific studies says that IVM is safe and effective for COVID — so different rules apply here?

©2023. John Droz, Jr. All rights reserved.


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