By Eric Kleefeld | WASHINGTON – A Fox News guest who has promoted the use of unproven drugs to treat COVID-19 recommended on Sunday that viewers go to his group’s website to obtain its “protocols” of treatment, which include specific drugs — and importantly, at specific dosage levels — that are used for transgender health care.
Dr. Pierre Kory has appeared on Fox News multiple times to promote the use of the antiparasitic drug ivermectin, claiming that pharmaceutical companies “will never develop a drug that is more effective” nor admit that they were wrong. During an appearance on the January 9 edition of Sunday Morning Futures with Maria Bartiromo, Kory promoted his group Front Line COVID-19 Critical Care Alliance (FLCCC) and claimed that “people are dying because they’re being deprived of highly effective, cheap, widely available drugs that do not present as obscene profits to the pharmaceutical companies.”
“That is disgusting,” Bartiromo responded. “I know for a fact that hydroxychloroquine and ivermectin work to treat COVID.”
Kory then directed viewers to the FLCCC website, which recommends ivermectin as a “first line” medicine to treat cases of COVID-19. But as Twitter users have pointed out, the document contains a list of “second line agents” to use if symptoms last more than five days, if there is a “poor response” to the “first line agents,” or in case of “significant comorbidities.”
This second treatment consists of a “dual anti-androgen therapy” of spironolactone, in combination with either dutasteride or finasteride — drugs that are commonly used by transgender women to suppress their testosterone levels.
The drugs listed as “second line agents” also have other common uses. Spironolactone, for example, is used to treat edema and heart failure. Finasteride and dutasteride are used to treat enlarged prostate, and finasteride is also approved for the treatment of male-pattern baldness.
But in such circumstances, those drugs are also typically administered at much lower dosages. The dosage levels recommended by Kory’s organization, however, are more consistent with transition-related care, or even higher.
Fox News has a troubling record regarding trans health care. The network regularly covers the topic and spreads medical misinformation that ignores the widely held consensus among health care providers that transition-related care — including some of the same medications now being pushed as alternative COVID-19 treatments — has positive impacts for people who experience gender dysphoria.
Instead, the network is now helping point its viewers toward using these drugs as one of many quack cures it has pushed during the COVID-19 pandemic.
Eric Kleefeld is a senior writer on the Rapid Response Team for Media Matters for America
The preceding piece was previously published by Media Matters for America and is republished with permission.