- 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.
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.
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.
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.