With a rise in demand for Ivermectin as a treatment for COVID-19, prices of the anti-parasitic drug have shot up online — especially on Amazon, where sellers have gouged the prices up to eight times the usual amount.
Although the Food and Drug Administration says Ivermectin should not be used for COVID-19, people in the United States clamored to get their hands on the drug during the pandemic, even turning to a formulation used primarily to deworm horses, according to Buzzfeed News.
This formulation is readily available on Amazon without a prescription and, until recently, for cheap. But while it used to cost $5 to $7 for a pack of three tubes, third-party Amazon sellers are selling it for inflated prices up to $91. In horse supply stores, the price has risen from $5 to an average of $8. It’s even becoming common for it to go out of stock.
Horse owners who need the drug to care for their animals said they felt the brunt of the price increases and scarcity. One feed store in Las Vegas responded by requiring customers to show photographic proof they own a horse.
Ivermectin is FDA-approved to be prescribed to humans for some infections caused by parasites . However, the agency stressed “it is not approved for the prevention or treatment of COVID-19. You should not take any medicine to treat or prevent COVID-19 unless it has been prescribed to you by your health care provider and acquired from a legitimate source.”
A research article released in June described the effect of Ivermectin as being effective against SARS-CoV-2 but only in a laboratory setting, which the FDA said is “commonly used at an early stage of drug development.”
“Additional testing is needed to determine whether ivermectin might be appropriate to prevent or treat coronavirus or COVID-19,” the agency said.
Still, with medical experts cautioning against human consumption of the Ivermectin version meant for horses, Amazon blocked searches and reviews mentioning “ivermectin for humans” and “ivermectin for covid,” according to USA Today .
“We work hard every day to provide customers with low prices, vast selection, and fast delivery,” Amazon said in a statement obtained by the Washington Examiner. “Sellers set their own product prices in our store and we have policies to help ensure sellers are pricing their products competitively. We actively monitor our store and remove offers that violate our policies.”
A spokesperson added that Amazon will take action against any seller caught price gauging, such as suspending or terminating their account.
The Washington Examiner reached out to Amazon for comment.
Customers can still leave reviews warning people unfamiliar with the price under normal circumstances they shouldn’t pay more than $50 a dose.
“If you own horses you know these are at tractor supply for $5!” one said. “The fact that this […] company is buying these and marking them up like this is absolutely disgusting. You should NOT be able to do this.”