Why is Ivermectin, a drug for animals, selling out at feed stores and prompting warnings for people?


MEMPHIS, Tenn. — The shelves were fully stocked at the Raleigh Feed Store on Tuesday, but Heather Lewis said there’s one product they cannot keep in stock: Ivermectin.

“They are only putting out X amount per store I guess, and when I normally order it, it didn’t come in,” Lewis said. “So, I asked my representative I said hey what’s going on? She said everybody is wanting it for COVID. So, they’re allocating it.”

According to the Mississippi State Health Department, people are using the livestock drug to treat or prevent COVID-19 in humans.

This has landed several people in the hospital. Health leaders are reminding citizens, this drug is not for human consumption and can have deadly consequences.

Minutes after the store opened, a customer came in looking for Ivermectin.  Health leaders said this further illustrates the perils of spreading misinformation.

The drug is normally used to treat animals like horses or cows. Recently, the Mississippi State Health Department issued a warning saying the Poison Control Center is seeing an uptick in calls from those taking this livestock drug to treat or prevent COVID 19.

At least two people in the Magnolia State have been hospitalized.

In Arkansas, the state health director Dr. Jose Romero warned against human consumption of Ivermectin after poison control in that state reported seeing cases.

“What’s we’re seeing across the South, not just our state, is veterinary grade Ivermectin is being taken by humans, and we’re seeing increased number of cases in adults and in children,” Romero said. “That’s ivermectin that’s intended for animal or livestock use and it’s not to be used for human consumption.”

We reached out to Dr. Angie Zinkus, a veterinarian at Germantown Parkway Animal Hospital.

“In the veterinary profession, we strongly, strongly, strongly encouraged not to use oral Ivermectin themselves,” Zinkus said.

She said using a little too much, can be detrimental, even dangerous.

“You can see some uncontrollable seizures and even death,” Zinkus said.

Health officials would like to remind people of just how powerful animal drugs can be to humans. They also said that ingesting Ivermectin is not a treatment for COVID-19.

As for Raleigh Feed store, they’re focused on providing quality products for animals and pets — not humans.

Health experts say your best defense against COVID 19 is to get the FDA-approved vaccination.

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