Bill Maher Blasts People ‘On the Left’ Who ‘Politicized’ Ivermectin: ‘It’s a Drug. It’s Not a Politician.’
Bill Maher said that it’s crazy that drugs meant (or not meant) to treat covid are treated as political rather than medical or scientific subjects, including Ivermectin.
Toward the end of Friday’s Real Time on HBO, Maher and his guests, writer Matt Taibbi and Katherine Mangu-Ward of Reason, discussed the news that Merck has developed a pill it says could be a dramatic lifesaver, cutting risk of death from covid-19 by about half.
“I think it could be a game-changer,” said Mangu-Ward. “I will admit I went into the pandemic extremely skeptical of the FDA and the CDC, but I think America joined me in that as we saw a huge number of mistakes by the public health bureaucracy. Huge.”
“This pill does not have FDA approval right now. So I want to know how long are we going to have to wait if this is lifesaving, just like the vaccines have turned out to be?” she said. “I would really like for people to have the right to try these life-saving medications. And I’m afraid that the bureaucracy is going to stand in the way.”
That lead to Maher talking about the politicization of medication that has taken place since the start of the pandemic, using as an example Ivermectin and the reaction of the left.
“One of the problems is you’ve written so eloquently about is that we have politicized medication now. I mean, Ivermectin. It keeps-Ivermectin. It’s a drug. It’s not a politician. It should not have any reputation, except does it work or not,” he said. The audience applauded that line, which he then said was “completely non-controversial.”
“Like on the left, it was like, Oh no, you can’t even mention it,” Maher continued. “And of course, the comedians on the left would only talk about the fact that it was used to worm horses, leaving out that it’s been prescribed millions of times for humans now.”
Ivermectin became a big part of covid news after the Mississippi Department of Health stated that they had seen an increase in poison control calls related to ingestion of over-the-counter ivermectin medication for horse deworming. The state warned that medicines that are meant for animals are “highly concentrated” and can therefore be toxic. The FDA then put out a tweet saying “You are not a horse. You are not a cow. Seriously, y’all. Stop it.”
Ivermectin has also been successfully used for years to treat humans (not in the over-the-counter horse format), and there was an immediate backlash against the FDA’s tweet. Media generally characterized those seeking ivermectin as bumpkin Trump voters, and critics of media on the right accused the press of selectively mentioning only the animal product in a deliberate effort to mock the right. Since then it has been a hot-button, the mere mention of which can send either side into paroxysm.
Maher on Friday brought up the fact that the drug has been studied and used in covid treatment, and also that studies can be wrong, doctors can be wrong, and so on.
“I think the thing that was really weird about COVID is that there were so many people who were suddenly rooting against or for certain drugs, right?” said Taibbi. “Why do you care?”
“Right? Rooting!” said Maher. “Root for it!”
Maher brought up that some things are not “approved to talk about,” mentioning hydroxychloroquine, and Mangu-Ward said that a lot of people “want to be gatekeepers.”
“I think when the stakes are this high, when it really is about, you know, protecting your own life, people should be allowed to make their own choices,” she said.
“As a doctor I read, a serious doctor said, nothing in medicine is fixed or precise. Unlike other sciences. That’s the case I’ve been trying to prosecute on this show,” Maher concluded.
For this discussion of the politicization of medicine, Maher has faced some social media backlash on Saturday, political in nature, which bolsters his point.
Watch the clip above, via HBO.
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