Mexico City Health Ministry Stands By Ivermectin Use After “Colonialist & Authoritarian” Censorship Of New Study
A battle over the distribution of ivermectin by the Mexican government continues as a paper describing the apparent benefits of the program has been removed from a popular online science database.
In late January, Reuters released a “Fact Check” titled “Mexico no longer including ivermectin in home COVID-19 care kits, contrary to claims on social media”, disputing online claims stating the government of Mexico City was issuing COVID-19 kits which included doses of ivermectin, the controversial anti-parasitic drug. Reuters notes that some social media users have shared an image showing a COVID-19 care kit delivered by the Mexican government. The kit contains ivermectin.
The Director of Medical Benefits at the Mexican Institute of Social Security (IMSS) told Reuters as of January 4, 2022, the IMSS “stopped including ivermectin in their home COVID-19 care kits for ambulatory patients”. Of course, this means prior to January 2022, the IMSS distributed ivermectin throughout 2021.
In fact, according to the Directorate, between December 21, 2020 and December 30, 2021, IMSS distributed 465,345 of kits for home treatment for COVID-19 patients that contained ivermectin. Reuters notes that “an IMSS activity report explains (see page 155 here) that these kits were delivered to non-severe patients. It included ivermectin, aspirin, paracetamol, azithromycin as well as face-masks and an oximeter”. As of January 4, 2022, the kits only contain paracetamol, masks, an oximeter, and a flyer with guidance.
“Ivermectin was incorporated into the treatment kits as a result of the review of the most important research studies that had been published up to that time, a review that was completed on January 9, 2021, containing evidence from the medical-scientific literature on the world,” the directorate told Reuters.
The Misinformation Battle
In recent weeks, news of the government program has been met with criticism and cries of “spreading misinformation”. Of course, the misinformation talk stems from state health authorities long ago declaring that anyone treating COVID-19 with anything other than shots — especially ivermectin — has fallen prey to anti-science misinformation.
For example, Animal Politico reported that the Mexico City government had spent 29,290,000 pesos (around 1.4 million USD) for the kits containing ivermectin. The outlet is quick to note that most of the world’s governments or health agencies consider ivermectin to be useless against COVID-19.
In response to the accusations of spreading misinformation, the Digital Agency for Public Innovation (ADIP), the local Ministry of Health (Sedesa), and the IMSS reported that they had carried out a “quasi-experimental” analysis showing that those who received ivermectin were 68% less likely to develop symptoms requiring hospitalization. The analysis — “Ivermectin and the odds of hospitalization by Covid-19: evidence from a quasi-experimental analysis based on a public intervention in Mexico City” — is at the heart of this whirlwind of controversy.
On February 4, the online scientific paper database SocArXiv decided to remove the analysis from their website after it became a point of contention. In December 2021, as critics began to vocalize their concerns around the ivermectin program, Philip N. Cohen, director of SocArXiv, published a blog stating that SocArXiv did not have a policy to remove documents from their website. By early February that position had evolved and SocArXiv decided to remove the analysis.
“In light of demonstrable harms such as those associated with this document, and in response to a community outpouring pleading with us to act, we withdraw this document,” the SocArXiv founder wrote. Cohen listed four reasons why the website chose to remove the controversial analysis, including the accusation that it was contributing to misinformation.
Cohen and SocArXiv appear to have been motivated, at least in part, by a tweet storm on February 1st from University of California sociology professor Juan Pablo Pardo-Guerra asking the website to remove the article. The professor also went as far as comparing the program to the infamous Tuskegee experiments. He also called on the website to ban the authors from posting again.
What makes this situation unique is that the authors for the paper include government officials, including José Merino, Eduardo Clark, Lila Petersen and Saúl Caballero from the ADIP; Oliva López, Secretary of Health of Mexico City and Víctor Hugo Borja, current head of the IMSS Education and Research Unit. Additionally, the authors had the support of Claudia Sheinbaum, the head of the government of Mexico City.
“Unlike in the United States, where ivermectin has been promoted by conservative commentators (and star podcaster Joe Rogan), the drug was championed in Mexico by leftist intellectuals in top government jobs,” The Washington Post reports.
Following the tweets from the professor, Cohen brought the issue to the Steering Committee of SocArXiv and the decision was made to remove the paper. Cohen outlines the thinking behind the decision:
“To summarize, there is insufficient evidence that ivermectin is effective in treating COVID-19; the study has minimal scientific value at best; the paper is part of an unethical program by the Mexico City government to dispense hundreds of thousands of doses of an inappropriate drug to people sick with COVID-19, possibly continuing to the present; the authors of the article have promoted it as evidence that their medical intervention is effective.”
An ‘Authoritarian’ and ‘Colonialist’ Attack on Ivermectin Research
José Antonio Peña Merino, the director of the ADIP and lead author of the analysis, responded to the accusations against him and the other authors by posting a letter stating they are “deeply concerned” about the removal of the paper. In a signed letter, Merino and the other authors say the action is “an indulgence in political innuendo rather than an examination of scientific evidence.” They also complain about the decision to remove the article in response to the Twitter thread by Professor Juan Pablo Pardo-Guerra.
“It’s very obvious that in the United States the simple mention of ivermectin triggers a political and media frenzy,” the letter states. Merino went even further, accusing Cohen of being “colonialist and authoritarian” in withdrawing the article. “It seems to us extremely unethical, colonialist and authoritarian that in the absence of a serious argument, you close a work for political reasons due to the current divisions in your own country.”
The letter from Merino also asks Cohen, “What will you do, sir, with the 148 studies, 97 peer reviewed papers, 78 with results comparing treatment and control groups and in support of ivermectin use since ours was conducted?”, with a list of studies at the end of the letter which Merino says support the case for ivermectin.
According to The Washington Post, Merino admitted the ivermectin program was not a clinical trial, but an “observational study”, where researchers analyze the effect of an intervention without controlling who is affected.
Meanwhile, Mexico News Daily reports that the Mexico City Health Ministry (Sedesa) issued a statement reiterating that ivermectin is “safe, cheap [and] without adverse effects in controlled quantities.” The ministry said ivermectin is approved in the country and the distribution of ivermectin to COVID-19 patients “was not an experiment as some media outlets have deceitfully [said].” IMSS also said the use of ivermectin was safe because it can be beneficial to COVID patients and the risk in using it is “practically non-existent.”
“The medication was included in [medical] kits for ambulatory patients prior to medical evaluation and with complementary instructions … and monitoring of symptoms via telephone. At no time were experiments undertaken,” IMSS said.
Health Information Wars
The situation surrounding ivermectin in Mexico City is one of the latest examples of a battle over truthful information regarding COVID-19, treatment, the virus (or lack thereof) itself, and numbers of hospitalizations and deaths. The public has struggled for nearly 2 years to make sense of the constant bombardment of conflicting information from alleged health experts and authorities, and alternative health practitioners and doctors who also see themselves as authorities.
It’s no wonder that an increasing amount of people simply want to forget about COVID-19 and go back to “normal”. The people are sick of being lied to, talked down to, and belittled like children. The people simply want to have the freedom to treat themselves and their families in a way that makes sense for their situations. For some, this might include a COVID-19 shot. For others, it will mean ivermectin. And for others still, it might mean eating more vitamins, getting exercise, sunlight, and a whole food diet.
The point is the people should always have the power to make these decisions. The problem, of course, is the increasingly stifled flow of information. The average person struggles to keep up with the mainstream view of COVID-19 (and the health organization’s many flip-flops), as well as the endless trove of counter-information and opinions which conflict with the mainstream. The media does their job to attack anyone who might challenge the corporate-government narrative, and Big Tech plays the part by silencing the voices of those who don’t fit neatly into this narrative.
This combination of shouting down critics, silencing them on social media, demonizing them with the corporate media machine, and rewriting history while it happens is an extremely precarious situation. With ivermectin this apparatus of propaganda can prevent individuals who might benefit from the drug from using it. When it comes to even bigger topics which affect not just one individual’s life, but the lives of millions of people around the world, the true danger becomes clear.
This machine is wielded by The Predator Class who seeks to keep the average person blinded to any bit of information that might shatter the matrix of control that surrounds and captures their every movement. Exposing the propaganda around ivermectin — as well as many, many other topics — is vital to bringing an end to COVID-1984.
Source: The Last American Vagabond