By Alex Trelinski • 29 April 2020 • 18:49
US President Trump’s hokum Covid-19 cure ideas are leading to a surge in unproven drug buying.
A study from American scientists says that as soon a potentially dangerous drug is mentioned by Trump or other famous people like inventor Elon Musk, then online searches rise to buy them.
Of even greater concern was that even after the deaths of people that ended up poisoned by the the unproven use of drugs like chloroquine, the public still wanted to buy the ‘cures.’
The study was carried out by medics and published in the JAMA Internal Medicine journal.
The experts looked to see whether the mention of the high-profile drugs had led people to search out the option to buy them, presumably to use on themselves.
They did so by looking at Google Trends, which aggregates search data from across the world to give an indication of what people are looking for.
They looked not only for people searching to learn about the drugs, but specifically those who appeared to be looking to buy them.
To narrow that down, they gathered data on the number of searches for the drugs together with keywords such as ‘buy’ and ‘order,’ as well as shops such as Amazon.
They found that in the wake of the endorsements from both Trump and Musk, the number of people searching for the drugs shot up.
The public endorsements led to searches for ‘hydroxychloroquine’ to go up by 1,389 per cent.
“We estimate that there were more than 200,000 Google searches for buying these two drugs in only 14 days following the high-profile endorsements. This could be evidence that thousands of Americans were interested in buying these drugs,” said Dr Mark Dredze from Johns Hopkins University.
The researchers behind the study said that it was a warning for people in the public eye to be aware of the effects of any high profile endorsement of untested drugs and Covid-19 remedies.
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