Anti-vaxxers are selling horse drugs in London claiming they are an alternative to the vaccine.
A group on encrypted messaging app Telegram is offering Brits Ivermectin as a “vital medicine denied because of politics”.
An undercover Sunday Mirror reporter collected 90 pills at a pub car park in Abbey Wood, South East London after messaging an admin and sent them off to be tested at a lab.
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(Image: Humphrey Nemar)
The Telegram group has more than 2,700 members.
Its admins falsely claim Ivermectin, which is commonly used to treat parasites in horses and cows, is an alternative to the vaccine.
Their posts are full of misinformation such as claims the vaccine is a “death jab” and that they have saved lives with the horse medicine.
They share a debunked conspiracy theory that a two-year-old died from taking the Pfizer jab during a clinical trial.
And they claim, when combined with other drugs, vaccination speeds up the ageing process and increases the risk of certain cancers in women.
In the US, conspiracies around Ivermectin have already led to hundreds of people being hospitalised and two people have died in New Mexico after taking the pills.
The undercover Sunday Mirror reporter joined the group and messaged an admin.
The reporter was told a £100 “three day cleanse” of 90 3mg pills would give “12 months protection”.
Alternatively, a “full 500 pill drum” was available for £500.
The admin falsely claimed: “Treatments have been proven safe for children to the elderly including pregnant women. In other parts of the world [they] are sold over the counter.
“Because of politics, we ask you not to share this vital communication as we are determined to save lives, not fight authorities that should supply stocks.”
The reporter chose the cheaper option and was asked to pay into the account of a company based in West London. The admin added: “Please do not take screenshots of our financial information.”
But he later sent another message saying: “We are more open to cash transactions as they keep disrupting our bank account service.”
The pills handed over by a courier were labelled as if made by pharmaceutical giant MSD.
The Sunday Mirror asked two labs to test the drugs.
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The results were inconclusive but said the pills’ appearance was consistent with a brand of Ivermectin made by MSD.
One report said: “The tablets look well-made and match the markings of Stromectol, the Ivermectin product made by MSD. This of course does not mean they are not counterfeit as counterfeit pharmaceuticals often cannot be distinguished by appearance these days.”
In February, MSD issued a statement saying there was “no scientific basis for a potential therapeutic effect against Covid-19 from pre-clinical studies” with Ivermectin and “a concerning lack of safety data in the majority of studies”.
TV doctor Chris van Tulleken also debunked the claim Ivermectin could be effective against covid.
He said: “I’m a tropical diseases doctor and one of the few in this country who prescribes [Ivermectin] routinely. It categorically does not work for Covid. You can kill viruses in test tubes with it, but you’d need up to 100 times more than the lethal dose for a human.”
The Mirror alerted police and the medicines regulator MHRA.
MSD said: “Safety is paramount. We will conduct a full investigation and inform regulators and agencies. Medicines should only be prescribed by a health care professional.”
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