Trump said during a press briefing that the drug, which is used to treat malaria, lupus and rheumatoid arthritis, is showing “tremendous promise” in helping treat the novel coronavirus.
“How many desperately needed hospital beds will we have to set aside for people who unknowingly chose to develop life-threatening heart Arrhythmias? All because they followed the moronic advice of Dr. Don Trump to take hydroxycloroquine with a qt [sic] prolonging agent, Azithromycin,” NYT best-selling author Kurt Eichenwald tweeted.
Aliza Nadi, an investigative reporter and producer at NBC News, called Trump’s comments an “unfounded claim.”
Calls to two dozen pharmacies (CVS, Walgreens, Rite Aid) from NYC to Albuquerque, LA to SF about their hydroxycloroquine stock yielded the same response- it’s “backordered”
— Aliza Nadi (@alizanadi) March 23, 2020
Studies, however, show that there may be truth behind Trump’s comments. Less than two weeks after attacking Trump for his “embrace of unproven drugs,” the NYT published an article April 1 about a small study that indicated hydroxychloroquine may help virus patients improve. (RELATED: CNN Bashed Trump For Saying The Same Thing About Coronavirus Death Percentage That They’re Now Reporting)
“The malaria drug hydroxychloroquine helped to speed the recovery of a small number of patients who were mildly ill from the coronavirus, doctors in China reported this week,” the NYT article on the drug reported.
“Previous reports from China and France that the drug seemed to help patients, along with enthusiastic comments from President Trump, have created a buzz around hydroxychloroquine and the closely related chloroquine, which are decades-old drugs used to treat malaria and autoimmune diseases like lupus and rheumatoid arthritis.”
The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) also approved emergency authorization of using the drug for coronavirus patients. The Washington Post reported these “unapproved” drugs after the FDA’s announcement and noted that the administration said the “benefit outweighs risks.”
“There is little evidence chloroquine and hydroxychloroquine are effective, but the president continues to tout them,” Forbes claimed just days before the NYT report indicating that the drug may be effective.
Others who have railed against Trump’s comments include Democratic Nevada Gov. Stephen Sisolak, who banned anti-malaria drugs for outpatient coronavirus treatment after the president’s comments.
Democratic Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer also cracked down on the drugs Trump touted after his comments. Days later, Witmer reversed course and requested hydroxychloroquine and chloroquine from the federal government.
“Based on the FDA’s Emergency Use Authorization to allow the use of hydroxychloroquine sulfate and chloroquine phosphate products donated to the Strategic National Stockpile (SNS) for certain patients with COVID-19, we are pursuing a request for hydroxychloroquine/chloroquine from SNS,” Lynn Sutphin, a Michigan HHS spokesperson, said according to the Washington Times.
Twitter demanded that Fox News’ Laura Ingraham take down a tweet about hydroxychloroquine after the social media company said that it violated their misinformation policy. Twitter later backtracked and said that Ingraham was not forced to take down the tweet, according to Politico.
Ingraham’s March 20 tweet read that the drug was being used in “many hospitals” and that it had shown “very promising results,” Politico reported. It was later determined that a doctor being cited in Ingraham’s tweet and on her show did not work at the New York facility she said was using the drug.
It is not clear which part of the tweet violated Twitter’s policy, as studies now show that the drug could, in fact, help with the novel coronavirus.
— Raymond Arroyo (@RaymondArroyo) March 30, 2020