The data also reveals that 72,000 people paid at least $6.7 million for Covid-19 consultations promoted by America’s Frontline Doctors and vaccine conspiracist Simone Gold.
By Micah Lee
A NETWORK OF health care providers pocketed millions of dollars selling hydroxychloroquine, ivermectin, and online consultations, according to hacked data provided to The Intercept. The data show that vast sums of money are being extracted from people concerned about or suffering from Covid-19 but resistant to vaccinations or other recommendations of public health authorities.
America’s Frontline Doctors, a right-wing group founded last year to promote pro-Trump doctors during the coronavirus pandemic, is working in tandem with a small network of health care companies to sow distrust in the Covid-19 vaccine, dupe tens of thousands of people into seeking ineffective treatments for the disease, and then sell consultations and millions of dollars’ worth of those medications. The data indicate patients spent at least $15 million — and potentially much more — on consultations and medications combined.
The Intercept has obtained hundreds of thousands of records from two companies, CadenceHealth.us and Ravkoo, revealing just how the lucrative operation works. America’s Frontline Doctors, or AFLDS, has been spreading highly politicized misinformation about Covid-19 since the summer of 2020 and refers its many followers to its telemedicine partner SpeakWithAnMD.com, which uses Cadence Health as a platform. People who sign up then pay $90 for a phone consultation with “AFLDS-trained physicians” who prescribe treatments such as hydroxychloroquine and ivermectin to prevent and treat Covid-19. The drugs are delivered by Ravkoo, a service that works with local pharmacies to ship drugs to patients’ doors. Of course, that’s if patients ever get the consultation; many customers told Time they never received the call after paying.
The data from the Cadence Health and Ravkoo sites was provided to The Intercept by an anonymous hacker who said the sites were “hilariously easy” to hack, despite promises of patient privacy. It was corroborated by comparing it to publicly available information. The Intercept is not publishing any individual patient data and has taken steps to secure the data. After The Intercept reached out, Cadence Health’s Roque Espinal-Valdez said he shut the platform down, not wanting any part in profiting off of Covid-19 “quackery.”RelatedDoctor Who Joined Capitol Attacks Leads a Far-Right Campaign Against Covid-19 Vaccine
America’s Frontline Doctors, which debuted in the summer of 2020, has close ties to a network of right-wing efforts to undermine public health during the pandemic, including the Tea Party Patriots. AFLDS’s founder, physician Simone Gold, was arrested and charged after the deadly attack on the U.S. Capitol on January 6. She and other doctors have appeared in widely shared videos arguing that the drugs hydroxychloroquine and ivermectin — which are primarily used to treat malaria in humans and parasitic worms in livestock, respectively — are effective treatments for Covid-19, despite warnings from the World Health Organization and Centers for Disease Control and Prevention against using them.
The extremely partisan group also misleads people about Covid-19 vaccines, which they refer to as “experimental biological agents,” and against public health measures like vaccine mandates, masking, social distancing, and restrictions on businesses. In a video titled “The Truth About Covid-19 Vaccines,” which has received over 1.3 million views, Gold falsely argues that Covid-19 is not very deadly and that the vaccines are more dangerous than the virus itself. Over 690,000 Americans so far have died from the virus, and unvaccinated people now make up 99 percent of recent Covid-19 deaths.