Amazon’s algorithm is directing users to de-worming drug falsely touted as Covid medicine

Amazon is directing its users to ivermectin, a de-worming drug which has previously been falsely advertised as a treatment for Covid-19.

Ivermectin’s actual function is to kill parasitic worms in farmyard animals, mainly horses, however thousands of people in the US are taking it as a treatment for the coronavirus, under poor medical advice.

There is little evidence to suggest that taking ivermectin can reduce symptoms of the virus and a huge study was canned in July over ethical concerns after the results were found to be nearly entirely plagiarised from press releases.

CNBC found that if you search “iv” into the Amazon marketplace, it will automatically show up with ivermectin medications including tablets, injectables, pills and liquid.

The Amazon algorithm relies on popular searches to fetch its search results, meaning a lot of people are searching for the parasite drug on the site.

One review on an ivermectin product read: “Yes I used it for that. Two doses, completely gone. This stuff absolutely works. The rumours are true.”

“Amazon’s autocomplete responses are driven by customer activity,” Amazon spokesperson Craig Andrews told CNBC

“We are blocking certain autocomplete responses to address these concerns.”

READ MORE: Amazon launches its own BNPL service with Affirm

US citizens are not just searching on Amazon for the drug however, ivermectin is flying off the shelves in local pharmacies and drug stores.

With supplies running low across Oklahoma, Las Vegas and Idaho.

Prescriptions for the drug leapt to 90,000 a week during August, compared with the 3,600 that was being seen before the pandemic.

“At least 70 per cent of the recent calls [to the state poison control centre] have been related to ingestion of livestock or animal formulations of ivermectin,” The Mississippi Health Department said.

This led to the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA)  announcing: “You are not a horse,” on Twitter.

Amazon has now added a notice to searches for “ivermectin for humans,” which states that the FDA does not advise humans to take the drug as a treatment or prevention for Covid-19.

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