CNN’s chief medical correspondent Dr. Sanjay Gupta acknowledged that the network shouldn’t have called a controversial drug being used as a COVID-19 treatment a “horse dewormer” — as he was grilled by podcast host Joe Rogan about why the media was “lying” about the medication.
Gupta was confronted by Rogan about how the network has handled its coverage of ivermectin, a drug also used to treat or prevent parasites in animals such as horses, on the Wednesday episode of “The Joe Rogan Experience.”
“They shouldn’t have said that,” Gupta said of the network referring to the medication as a “horse dewormer.”
The heated exchange over ivermectin began when the pair was discussing Rogan’s bout with the virus earlier this year.
Rogan, who is not vaccinated, said he took the drug in addition to receiving monoclonal antibodies.
“By the way, I’m glad you’re better,” Gupta told the podcast host.
“Thank you. You’re probably the only one at CNN who’s glad … The rest of them are all lying about me taking horse medication,” Rogan replied.
“That bothered you,” Gupta said.
“It should bother you too,” Rogan replied. “They’re lying at your network about people taking human drugs versus drugs for veterinary.”
Gupta acknowledged that “calling it a ‘horse dewormer’ is not the most flattering thing.”
“It’s a lie,” Rogan shot back. “It’s a lie on a news network … and it’s a lie that they’re conscious of. It’s not a mistake. They’re unfavorably framing it as veterinary medicine.”
Rogan called out some of Gupta’s colleagues, such as “OutFront” anchor Erin Burnett, for referring to the treatment as a “livestock drug” with “glee” before summing up his stance on the matter, saying, “The point is that’s a lie.”
“It can be used for humans! I get it,” Gupta said.
“Not just could be used for humans, is often used for humans along with all the other drugs that I took. All human drugs,” the podcast host said. “They know it’s a human drug and they lied. It’s defamatory.”
“Yeah, they shouldn’t have done that,” Gupta replied. “I don’t know if it’s defamatory.”
Despite the tense exchange, Gupta later said he was glad he appeared on the show.
“I walked into the lion’s den and spoke with @joerogan on his podcast for more than 3 hours — vaccines, ivermectin, and much more. Friends tried to get me to turn down his invite, but ultimately I’m glad I did it,” he wrote on Twitter.