How Covid disinformation created a race on animal medicine

Ruth Jeffers, owner of Jeffers, the pet supplies retailer, said she ran out of ivermectin paste on her website this year. After she restocked herself with more expensive versions, those tubes also sold out.

So this spring, she limited new customers to five hits. Partly driven by demand, it increased the prices of Jeffers-branded ivermectin, its cheapest option, to $ 4.99 a tube from $ 2.99 and then to $ 6.99.

“It’s hard for your # 1 product to turn into a circus,” Ms. Jeffers said.

At the Horsey Haven Retirement Home in Newcastle, Calif., A boarding house for retired horses, the lack of affordable ivermectin has recently sparked a cost debate. Laura Beeman, owner of Horsey Haven, said she has long used the drug to kill worms in all 28 horses in the stable. Treatments take place four times a year at no cost to the owners of the horses.

But with the rise in drug prices, Ms. Beeman was unsure whether she could continue to provide the service for free. She said she could start charging homeowners for the tubes of dough now at $ 7.99, which previously cost $ 1.99.

“At this point, I don’t have any more,” she said.

Dr Emerson said his animal hospital typically goes through two 500-milliliter bottles of ivermectin per year. Since opening her 3,500 square foot hospital seven years ago, she added, she had “never” had difficulty obtaining the drug.

His first hint that something had changed came two months ago when pet owners started asking questions about the drug to treat the coronavirus. Last month, her housekeeper said her sister was drinking ivermectin in her coffee.

Dr Emerson had tried to restock the drug, but only found the 50 milliliter bottle. Now she said she understood why.

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