Spotify airs Joe Rogan podcast touting ivermectin as part of his COVID-19 treatment, despite the FDA calling it ‘dangerous’

Joe Rogan
Spotify aired Joe Rogan’s recent podcast episode where he defended his use of ivermectin to treat COVID-19.

  • Spotify aired Joe Rogan’s recent podcast touting ivermectin as part of his COVID-19 recovery.
  • The FDA and CDC have issued warnings against using the antiparasitic drug to treat COVID-19.
  • Rogan has a history of making explosive comments on his podcast.
  • See more stories on Insider’s business page.

Spotify aired Joe Rogan’s podcast touting ivermectin as part of his COVID-19 treatment, despite the Food and Drug Association (FDA) calling the drug “dangerous” in large doses and warning people not to use it to treat the disease.

On September 1, the “Joe Rogan Experience” host and UFC commentator drew backlash for announcing in an Instagram video that he had been diagnosed with COVID-19 and was using the antiparasitic drug ivermectin to treat the illness.

“We immediately threw the kitchen sink at [the illness], all kinds of meds,” Rogan said in the Instagram clip, which has amassed over 6.5 million views. Rogan has over 13 million followers on the platform.

He then listed a number of drugs, including ivermectin, monoclonal antibodies, an antibiotic, and a steroid, that he took to treat his diagnosis.

A post shared by Joe Rogan (@joerogan)

The FDA and Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) both issued warnings about the dangers of using ivermectin, which is commonly used as a horse dewormer and has been adopted by people trying to self-treat coronavirus infections. The drug has been approved to treat some conditions in humans, like head lice, but COVID-19 is not one of them.

Ivermectin-related calls to poison control centers have increased during the pandemic, especially in summer 2021, when the drug made headlines. The dewormer can be toxic in large quantities, causing overdose symptoms including hallucinations, blurred vision, and even seizures.

On Tuesday’s new podcast episode, which aired on Spotify, Rogan spoke out against negative news coverage of the announcement and defended his use of ivermectin.

“Bro, do I have to sue CNN? They’re making shit up,” Rogan said on the podcast, appearing to reference CNN coverage criticizing his Instagram statement. Later in the episode, Rogan specifically mentioned CNN anchor Jim Acosta as someone who criticized his ivermectin use, although Insider was not able to verify whether Acosta did a segment on the podcast host.

“I literally got [the ivermectin] from a doctor. It’s an American company. They won the Nobel Prize in 2015 for use in human beings,” Rogan said on the podcast.

The scientists who discovered ivermectin did win a Nobel Prize in 2015 – for reducing the incidence of the parasitic diseases ivermectin is meant to treat.

Some people have obtained off-label prescriptions for ivermectin from doctors, with dispensed prescriptions increasing up to 24-fold from pre-pandemic times.

Others have found creative ways to self-medicate. A recent CDC report described two ivermectin-related hospitalizations: one patient consumed injectable ivermectin meant for horses, and the other took ivermectin tablets of unknown strength purchased online.

Taking doses meant for large animals increases the risk of overdose and unpleasant side effects. Again, no health agency recommends ivermectin as a treatment for COVID-19.

Rogan, who did not immediately respond to a request for comment, has a long history of sparking outrage for making explosive remarks on his podcast. In an April episode of the podcast, Rogan spread misinformation about COVID-19 and discouraged young people from getting the vaccine, although he later recanted his remarks, as Insider previously reported.

joe rogan experience
Joe Rogan hosts “The Joe Rogan Experience,” a popular podcast.

In a September 2020 podcast segment, Rogan made transphobic comments about Caitlyn Jenner, falsely speculating that living with the Kardashian women somehow influenced her identity as a transgender woman.

Journalist Matt Flegenheimer called Rogan “one of the most consumed media products” in the world and someone who has “the power to shape tastes, politics, medical decisions” in an article for The New York Times in July.

In May 2020, Rogan inked an estimated $100 million deal with Spotify to exclusively stream “The Joe Rogan Experience” on the streaming platform, the Wall Street Journal reported.

The show has ranked as the most popular podcast every month since it arrived on the streaming platform in September 2020, a spokesperson for the company previously told Insider.

A Spotify representative did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

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Joe Rogan’s COVID-19 recovery shows how much the right has bought into the widely discredited horse dewormer cure

Joe Rogan waves to a packed house at the UFC 264 ceremonial weigh-in at T-Mobile Arena on July 9, 2021 in Las Vegas, NV, United States.
  • Joe Rogan’s COVID-19 recovery set right-wing media buzzing over his use of alternative drugs.
  • Contrary to public-health guidance, Rogan had a doctor prescribe him ivermectin.
  • The horse dewormer has captivated the right in a similar way to hydroxychloroquine.
  • See more stories on Insider’s business page.

Joe Rogan, a podcast host who is not a doctor, returned to his audience of millions on Tuesday to recount how he’d recovered from COVID-19 despite being unvaccinated.

When Rogan announced he contracted the virus last week, he disclosed that he was taking a variety of drugs ranging from monoclonal antibodies to ivermectin, a horse dewormer that also comes as a drug doctors can prescribe to humans infected by parasites. The CDC issued a health advisory warning physicians against prescribing ivermectin to treat or prevent COVID-19 infections, and there’s no evidence to suggest ivermectin has any positive effect on them.

Over 40 million Americans have recovered from coronavirus, many without being hospitalized or taking prescribed treatments like monoclonal antibodies. Still, Rogan’s return to his podcast studio highlighted not only how far the right has bought into ivermectin as an unproven alternative to vaccines, but also how the comedian and UFC commentator can influence right-wing pundits with followings dwarfed by his own.

‘Here’s a message’

Several high profile health experts have said they were troubled that Rogan included ivermectin in his “kitchen sink” regimen to fight off COVID, mainly because people have been seeking out the non-prescription form of the drug at livestock feed stores. Higher doses intended for animals can cause serious problems in humans, and the FDA and CDC have advised against taking ivermectin simply because it hasn’t been found to be effective with COVID infections.

Rogan took issue with media coverage conflating his ivermectin – which he says he was prescribed by a doctor – with the livestock version.

A joint letter from the American Medical Association and two pharmacist groups also cautioned against prescribing the drug outside of what it’s been approved for by the FDA, given the spike in ivermectin prescriptions amid the Delta variant despite its lack of FDA approval.

“We are urging physicians, pharmacists, and other prescribers – trusted healthcare professionals in their communities – to warn patients against the use of ivermectin outside of FDA-approved indications and guidance,”

As medical experts have pointed out, Rogan bears responsibility for touting treatments dismissed by researchers and public health officials, given his large following and platform on Spotify.

During his Tuesday interview with fellow comedian Tom Segura, Rogan went on a tangent about the strength of his immune system and how he may not have contracted the virus if he didn’t drink after one of his stand-up shows in Florida.

“Here’s a message: The thing that fucked me is drinking,” Rogan said. “I think that really fucked me. I bet if I went home early, went to the hotel early Friday night, got sleep like I normally do, I bet it would have never got me.”

Hydroxychloroquine 2.0

The right-wing media frenzy over ivermectin – now with Rogan as its most famous champion – has closely mirrored that of hydroxychloroquine in both its proliferation and the communication tactics behind it.

Hydroxychloroquine was debunked as an effective prophylactic against COVID-19 before vaccinations were available, its embrace by pro-Trump figures ranging from Republican governors to social media influencers largely resembles how ivermectin has begun to proliferate the conservative political discourse.

Fringe pundits known for peddling conspiracy theories and misinformation have latched onto ivermectin in recent weeks, including Alex Jones of InfoWars, who appeared to take it live on his show last Friday.

Candace Owens, a frequent source of COVID-19 falsehoods, touted her Tuesday show with a discussion of Rogan’s recovery.

Charlie Kirk, the president and founder of Turning Point USA, likewise took a victory lap by using Rogan’s recovery to try to undermine confidence in vaccines, even though all three US-approved versions reduce the risk of severe disease by at least 90%.

The first story listed on The Daily Wire’s homepage on Wednesday morning, meanwhile, was about Rogan’s recovery and his grievances with CNN’s coverage of his use of ivermectin.

While the sitting president may no longer be promoting an unproven coronavirus treatment the way Donald Trump did with hydroxychloroquine, the right-wing media ecosystem has been galvanized by ivermectin in largely the same ways.

Both drugs have served as a way to further the pandemic culture wars by offering an alternative to effective public-health measures such as masking and vaccines. Both Jones and Rogan have suggested, falsely, that COVID-19 shots are part of a conspiracy led by the pharmaceutical industry.

Rogan can bring attention to a drug like ivermectin in a way few other figures can in American culture. Regardless of his intentions, there’s a right-wing media apparatus and a host of other actors ready to profit from it in the form of clicks and sales for supplements sponsoring their various shows.

Unlike with hydroxychloroquine, it remains to be seen whether ivermectin will have any long-term staying power, or if it will be taken over by a new trend just like before.

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Alex Jones appears to take ivermectin during a bizarre COVID-19 rant in which he defended Joe Rogan and called Fauci a ‘murderer’

US far-right radio show Alex Jones speaks to supporters of US President Donald Trump as they demonstrate in Washington, DC, on December 12, 2020, to protest the 2020 election.
US far-right radio show Alex Jones speaks to supporters of US President Donald Trump as they demonstrate in Washington, DC, on December 12, 2020, to protest the 2020 election.

  • Alex Jones went on an impassioned rant during an episode of his show InfoWars on Friday.
  • Jones appeared to take ivermectin, a controversial and unproven treatment for COVID-19.
  • The FDA has warned against treating COVID-19 with the drug, especially with versions intended for animals.
  • See more stories on Insider’s business page.

Far-right radio show host Alex Jones went on an impassioned tirade during an episode of his show Infowars on Friday, during which he appeared to take multiple pills of ivermectin, an antiparasitic drug that some are using to treat COVID-19 despite a lack of evidence showing its effectiveness against the disease.

In a video of the rant, which is sporadic and at times hard to follow, Jones presents two boxes of ivermectin and appears to take two of the tablets while railing against Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, and billionaire Bill Gates, calling them “murderers.”

“You want to suppress me, you want to kill me,” he said. “You think I’m easy to kill?”

He goes on to shout “Nobel Prize-winning for humans” five times into the camera.

Ivermectin has been described in some media reports as a horse dewormer, but it’s also used to treat some conditions in humans and is on the World Health Organization’s list of essential medicines. Two scientists won a Nobel Prize in 2015 for discovering the drug.

However, it is not a proven treatment for COVID-19, and some people have been taking highly concentrated versions of ivermectin that are intended to treat parasites in horses and cows. Poison control centers have received a surge in calls related to overdoses of the drug, NPR reported.

The Food and Drug Administration has warned people against taking ivermectin to treat COVID-19, especially the versions intended for animals, but also the tablets intended for humans.

Jones defended podcast host Joe Rogan, who announced this week he was taking ivermectin, along with a host of other treatments, after testing positive for COVID-19.

He also shouted about how ivermectin has helped him and his family but that Fauci “doesn’t want you to know because he wants the planet for himself and he wants you dead.”

Last week, Fauci warned people against taking ivermectin to treat or prevent COVID-19 and said there was no clinical evidence indicating it works.

“Don’t do it,” Fauci told CNN. “There’s no evidence whatsoever that that works and it could potentially have toxicity.”

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Joe Rogan says he has COVID-19 and is taking ivermectin, a horse dewormer that the CDC is warning people not to take

Joe Rogan

UFC commentator and ‘The Joe Rogan Experience’ podcast host Joe Rogan shared on Instagram on Wednesday that he tested positive for COVID-19.

On Instagram Live he told his followers that after several days of feeling feverish and exhausted, he tested positive.

“We immediately threw the kitchen sink at it,” he said in the video. “Monoclonal antibodies, ivermectin, Z-Pak, prednisone.” He claimed that after three days, he felt rejuvenated.

A post shared by Joe Rogan (@joerogan)

One of those drugs, ivermectin, is a horse dewormer that the CDC issued an advisory against using the drug to treat COVID-19. The dewormer is not a cure and can be toxic to humans in large doses.

In past months, Rogan has pushed COVID-19 misinformation and invited anti-vaxxers onto his podcast. In April, after facing backlash for telling healthy people in their twenties not to get the vaccine, he said, “I’m not a doctor,” in a clip of his show. “I’m a f—ing moron.”

Spotify, which has a roughly $100 million dollar exclusive deal with Rogan, could not immediately be reached for comment.

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Spotify quietly removed over 40 episodes of the Joe Rogan Experience podcast, report says

Joe Rogan
  • Over 40 episodes of the Joe Rogan Experience podcast have been removed from Spotify.
  • Episodes removed included far-right activists Alex Jones, Milo Yiannopoulos, and Gavin Mcinnes.
  • “There were a few episodes they didn’t want on their platform,” Rogan said of Spotify in February.
  • See more stories on Insider’s business page.

Spotify appears to be removing controversial episodes of its wildly popular Joe Rogan Experience podcast from its service.

According to a report from The Wrap, 42 episodes of the podcast from the MMA commentator and comedian have been removed from the platform since it purchased the podcast for $100 million in May 2020, though some of the original uploads remain on YouTube.

Four episodes with comedian Chris D’Elia, who has been accused of pursuing underage girls on social media, are among the removed episodes, The Wrap reported. Another six episodes featuring conspiracy theorist David Seaman have also been removed.

Rogan has frequently made offensive statements, shared misinformation, and hosted problematic guests on his podcast. In 2020, he made the false claims that Caitlyn Jenner could have been transgender as a result of living with the Kardashian women, that the Portland forest fires were started by “left-wing” activists, and described transgender identity as a “social contagion.”

The most recent removal of content occurred on April 6, according to The Wrap, with two old podcasts being taken off the platform. One of those episodes, first released in 2013, featured Bulletproof Coffee founder David Asprey, who has shared controversial scientific misinformation, like that with stem cell injections you can live to be 180-years-old. Rogan himself did call out Asprey’s misinformation on his podcast, saying in episode #459 with Dr. Rhonda Patrick that “he gets s— wrong and I don’t know if he’s always so good at recognizing when he has done that and correcting himself.”

There are currently 1,632 episodes of the Joe Rogan Experience created since 2009, with less than 3% having been removed.

Some episodes recorded before the Spotify acquisition never made the move over to the streaming service from YouTube, as Variety reported, including those with conservative YouTuber Sargon of Akkad, Proud Boys extremist-group founder Gavin McInnes, conspiracy theorist Alex Jones, and far-right commentator Milo Yiannopoulos.

During a February episode with guest Fahim Anwar, Rogan alluded to the fact that some of these episodes were taken down. “They haven’t given me a hard time at all,” Rogan said. “There were a few episodes they didn’t want on their platform, I was like ‘okay, I don’t care.'”

Spotify did not immediately respond to Insider’s request for comment.

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