Throughout the coronavirus pandemic, President Trump has embraced unproven treatments for coronavirus, especially anti-malarial drug hydroxychloroquine, which a new study found is linked to an increased risk of death in patients. Here are all the times Trump has pushed the drug.
Trump announced that the FDA would fast-track approval of unproven coronavirus treatments, including hydroxychloroquine, which he said has “been around for a long time so we know if things don’t go as planned it’s not going to kill anybody.”
Despite NIH Director Dr. Anthony Fauci saying “the answer is no” when asked if the drug is an effective coronavirus treatment, Trump said “we ought to give it a try,” adding, “I feel good about it. That’s all it is, just a feeling, you know.”
Citing a paper that was later ripped apart by experts, Trump tweeted “HYDROXYCHLOROQUINE & AZITHROMYCIN, taken together, have a real chance to be one of the biggest game changers in the history of medicine,” and said that the drugs should be “put in use IMMEDIATELY. PEOPLE ARE DYING, MOVE FAST, and GOD BLESS EVERYONE!”
At Trump’s urging, the FDA approved emergency use of hydroxychloroquine despite little evidence that it was effective in treating coronavirus.
Pointing to a trial of hydroxychloroquine on patients in New York, which ended up finding the drug to be useless in treating the virus, Trump said the country would have a “good idea” if the drug was effective in “the next three days.”
“Hydroxychloroquine, I don’t know,” Trump said. “It’s looking like it’s having some good results. I hope. That would be a phenomenal thing.”
Trump said, “I’m not acting as a doctor, but there are some good signs,” and declared “We don’t have time to take a couple years and test it out, we have people dying today as we speak,” asserting “it doesn’t kill people.”
Reporting revealed that Trump had small and distant financial links to Sanofi, a company that manufactures hydroxychloroquine, and that dark money groups were pushing Trump to back the drug.
While meeting with recovered coronavirus patients, some of whom had taken hydroxychloroquine, Trump praised the drug as “an unbelievable malaria pill. Unbelievable lupus pill,” and asserted if a different president was promoting the drug, “people would say, ‘Gee, isn’t that smart?'”
Biomedical Advanced Research and Development Authority Director Rick Bright alleged he was demoted due to his resistance to Trump’s promotion of the unproven drug.
After a period of silence following studies showing the drug is ineffective and an FDA warning against wide use of the drug, Trump announced he had been taking hydroxychloroquine for “about a week and a half” with “zero symptoms,” reiterating “what do you have to lose?” and slamming an VA report that said the drug is ineffective as “very unscientific.”
Trump defended his promotion of the drug, saying he “worked with doctors,” referring to the VA study as a “Trump enemy statement” and a “false study” and incorrectly denying the existence of an FDA warning against use of the drug to treat coronavirus.
Trump said he would be finishing his hydroxychloroquine regimen in “a day or two.”
A new study released Friday showed that hydroxychloroquine is linked to an increased risk of death in coronavirus patients. The analysis of 96,000 hospitalized coronavirus patients across six continents determined that people treated with the drug were more likely to develop irregular heartbeats, which can lead to sudden cardiac death. This study bolsters previous reports that have yieldd similar findings.
Many of Trump’s public health advisors, including Doctors Rick Bright and Anthony Fauci, have pushed back on his statements that the drug is safe and effective. “It’s a dangerous message for someone without a medical license to get up there and tell people to try it,” Fauci said of Trump’s promotion of the drug in April, “You need to listen to physicians, people who understand science, before you go willy-nilly into the medicine cabinet.”