August 24, 2021

Contact: Philip Shulman (

ICYMI: ‘You are not a horse. You are not a cow’: FDA issues blunt warning on taking drug promoted by Ron Johnson to treat COVID-19

MADISON, Wis. — Despite constant and fierce warnings from the medical community, Ron Johnson continues to push dangerous and unproven COVID-19 treatments like Ivermectin, which has endangered numerous people in Wisconsin and across the country.

See more below:

Milwaukee Journal Sentinel: ‘You are not a horse. You are not a cow’: FDA issues blunt warning on taking ivermectin, drug promoted by Ron Johnson to treat COVID-19

For months, Republican U.S. Sen. Ron Johnson has been talking up the anti-parasitic drug ivermectin as part of a cocktail of repurposed drugs for early treatment of COVID-19.

Johnson’s push even earned him a week-long suspension from YouTube.

On Saturday, the Food and Drug Administration issued a blunt warning for people not to use ivermectin to treat COVID-19.

The move by the FDA came amid reports that an increasing number of people in Mississippi and Louisiana were self-medicating with ivermectin intended for livestock.

In Wisconsin, a handful of people have called UW Health in Madison after taking the drug for COVID-19, said Nasia Safdar, the health care system’s director of infection control. Most experienced gastrointestinal side effects after taking the drug, and called because they were worried.

“I would say that we do not recommend it,” Safdar said, “and it is a danger to use it.”

The FDA made much the same point in a tweet: “You are not a horse. You are not a cow. Seriously, y’all. Stop it.”

Jonathan Yardley, an associate professor at Ohio State University College of Veterinary Medicine, said ivermectin is used to kill worms in horses and cows, but is quite powerful.

The drug has caused seizures in miniature horses and dogs, Yardley said, adding, “I find it strange that people are unwilling to take a vaccine that has been approved (under emergency use authorization), but are willing to take a horse drug. I just can’t wrap my head around that.”


There is no evidence that ivermectin will help treat or prevent COVID-19, said Amesh Adalja, a senior scholar at Johns Hopkins Center for Health Security. “The clinical data is very weak and there is no confidence in it.”

Worse, Adalja said, some people are using the drug instead of getting vaccinated, and are taking the higher-dose veterinary ivermectin instead of the version that would be used to treat a human.

“I think the misinformation has been great,” Adalja said, singling out Johnson’s hearing for promoting a conspiracy that the drug is being suppressed.


Also over the weekend, Johnson wrote a letter to federal health agencies not to rush the approval of COVID-19 vaccines.

On Monday, the FDA gave full approval to the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine. In a statement Monday, Johnson criticized the move.


Johnson, who tested positive for COVID-19 last October, has said he has not taken the vaccine.


That same month, he received the week-long suspension from YouTube for comments he made during an appearance with the Milwaukee Press Club. Johnson mentioned hydroxychloroquine and ivermectin “for early treatment of COVID.”

Earlier, the website removed two videos of doctors testifying about early therapies to COVID before the then-Johnson-led Homeland Security Committee.

One of the physicians who testified was Pierre Kory of Wisconsin. Johnson recently tweeted his support of Kory.

“Dr. Kory, with other medical professionals, had the courage and compassion to risk their lives treating Covid patients. Their reward: vilification, termination, censorship & lawsuits. We still need early treatment. Time for @NIH (National Institutes of Health) to stop dragging its feet.”

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