Some Pro-Trump conservatives who still refuse to get vaccinated are relying on hydroxychloroquine and ivermectin to treat the virus — drugs that the FDA and the medical community have staunchly warned against taking. This week, the Intercept released a damning report revealing that a prominent conservative organization has linked up with healthcare providers to swindle people out of millions. How? By spreading vaccine misinformation and selling them fake COVID cures.
One of the most prominent operations to scam the unvaccinated has been spearheaded by America’s Frontline Doctors, a pro-Trump organization founded last summer by conservative California doctor Simone Gold. According to hacked data sent to the Intercept, 72,000 people paid America’s Frontline Doctors a staggering $6.7 million for COVID-19 consultations from July 16 to September 12. The company then made millions more by prescribing hydroxychloroquine and ivermectin to people desperate to cure or prevent COVID.
Per the hacked documents obtained by the Intercept, this is how the operation worked: Frontline Doctors referred its conservative audience to its telemedicine partner, SpeakwithanMD.com. Customers then paid $90 for a telehealth consultation before they were prescribed a pseudo regimen, which was often not covered by insurance.
The pills were then reportedly sent to customers by Ravkoo, a third-party company that delivers medicine from pharmacies to people’s homes. The kicker to all of this is that the data from the Cadence Health and Ravkoo sites was provided to The Intercept by an anonymous hacker who said the sites were “hilariously easy” to hack, despite promises of patient privacy.
Just for the record: Hydroxychloroquine and ivermectin don’t cure or treat COVID. The former was first endorsed by Trump when he was starving to reopen the economy before the 2020 election. Hydroxychloroquine is actually used to treat malaria and lupus and its heightened demand has been detrimental to people who actually need them. Ivermectin, on the other hand, is commonly used as a dewormer for livestock. To echo the FDA: You are not a horse! And you're likely not a cow either.
America’s Frontline Workers itself was founded by Simone Gold, an unhinged doctor who took part in the storming of the Capitol. For some reason, she hasn’t lost her medical license even though a month ago, she gave a speech at a California church encouraging people not to get vaccinated and to access Frontline Doctor’s telemedicine services to get hydroxychloroquine, according to NPR. “I've told you ahead of time to get the medicines. It can take a week because we're so swamped,” she urged the crowd.
This all seems extraordinarily bizarre and unethical and some steps are finally being taken: YouTube just announced that it was banning all anti-vaccine misinformation and banning prominent anti-vaxxers from its platform, according to the New York Times. But as of Wednesday afternoon, YouTube has yet to ban Gold’s channel.
At this point, most anti-vaxxers have made up their minds and will continue to search for alternative and unproven ways to stave off the virus. Yesterday it was a horse dewormer. Tomorrow it might be ... Camel urine? Through the confusion, our corporate overlords stand to profit in the millions. The rest of us stand only to lose.