How covid misinformation made a run on veterinary medicine
Ruth Jeffers, who owns Jeffers, the animal supply retailer, said she sold ivermectin paste on her website this year. When she rested with the more expensive versions, those tubes also sold out.
So this spring, it limited new customers to five tubes. Partly driven by demand, it raised prices for Jeffers-branded ivermectin, its cheapest option, from $2.99 per tube to $4.99 — and then $6.99.
“It’s hard to turn your No. 1 product into a circus,” said Ms. Jeffers.
At Horsey Haven Retirement Home in Newcastle, Calif., a boarding stable for retired horses, the lack of affordable ivermectin has recently caused debate about costs. Horsey Haven owner Laura Beaman said she had long used the drug to kill worms in the stable’s 28 horses. Treatment takes place four times a year, at no cost to the horse’s owners.
But with drug prices rising, Ms Beaman wasn’t sure she would continue to provide the service for free. She said she can now start charging owners for $7.99 of the paste, which previously cost $1.99.
“At this point, I have no one left,” she said.
Dr. Emerson said his veterinary hospital usually carries two 500 ml bottles of ivermectin a year. Since opening her 3,500-square-foot hospital seven years ago, she said, she has “never” had difficulty getting medicine.
Her first clue came two months ago when pet owners began asking about the drug to treat the coronavirus. Last month, her maid said her sister was drinking ivermectin in her coffee.
Dr. Emerson was trying to restock the drug, but only found a 50 ml bottle. Now she said she understood why.
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