When they weren't downplaying the COVID-19 virus that's gone on to kill nearly one million Americans, conservatives across the country were baselessly promoting phony "cures" for those who contracted it.
Former President Donald Trump was one of the worst offenders. He regularly touted the malaria drug hydroxychloroquine and the anti-parasitic drug ivermectin, which is used in humans to treat conditions like roundworm and rosacea. Ivermectin is also the active ingredient in a number of animal deworming treatments.
Trump's fixation on ivermectin trickled down to his supporters, many of whom accused doctors of withholding the supposed cure out of greed. Right-wing Senator Rand Paul of Kentucky said at a town hall event last year that the medical industry's "hatred" for Trump made them "unwilling to objectively study" ivermectin.
But contrary to Paul's claims, studies have been done on ivermectin's effectiveness in treating COVID-19, and the results of one large-scale study had some less-than-ideal findings for those insisting ivermectin is a miracle drug.
A recent report from the New York Times revealed that a large scale clinical trial of the drug showed no effectiveness in reducing COVID-19 hospitalization.
The study, published this past Wednesday, used more than 3500 patients, 679 of whom were treated with ivermectin, 679 with a placebo, and 2157 with other treatments.
The report states:
"Treatment with ivermectin did not result in a lower incidence of medical admission to a hospital due to progression of Covid-19 or of prolonged emergency department observation among outpatients with an early diagnosis of Covid-19."
What's more, doctors fear that the emphasis on ivermectin and the resources deployed to explore its effectiveness are hemorrhaging resources.
Dr. Paul Sax, an infectious disease expert who did not work on the trial, told the New York Times:
“I welcome the results of the other clinical trials and will view them with an open mind, but at some point it will become a waste of resources to continue studying an unpromising approach."
The report generated widespread discussion on social media, with many calling out the former President and his supporters for baselessly touting its supposed effectiveness.
Few were surprised.