Trump said today he is taking daily doses of hydroxychloroquine, a drug he’s long touted as a potential coronavirus cure.
Even as medical experts and the US Food and Drug Administration question its efficacy and warn of potentially harmful side effects of the drug.
Speaking at a meeting of restaurant executives, Trump said he began taking the antimalarial drug after consulting the White House doctor,
“A couple of weeks ago, I started taking it.”
The admission was a dramatic development in Trump’s attempts to promote hydroxychloroquine as a treatment for coronavirus.
The drug is prescribed to treat malaria and other conditions, Trump has cast it as safe and suggested coronavirus patients have little to lose by trying it.
But a study was published in the Journal of the American Medical Association says the drug does not work against Covid-19 and could cause heart problems. It follows a study published in the New England Journal of Medicine that also showed the drug doesn’t fight the virus.
Even before these reports were published, the FDA and the National Institutes of Health issued warnings about using the drug for coronavirus patients.
Trump has said of the proof of its effectiveness.
“Here’s my evidence: I get a lot of positive calls about it.”
Asked if the White House doctor recommended he begin taking hydroxychloroquine, Trump demurred.
“I asked him what do you think, he said, ‘Well if you’d like it.’ ”
…if it doesn’t, you’re not going to get sick and die.”
The FDA has warned against side effects, including serious heart rhythm problems in Covid-19 patients treated with the drugs, especially when they are combined with the antibiotic azithromycin or other medications that can affect the heart.
Even some of Trump’s closest medical advisers expressed caution, including Dr. Anthony Fauci, who voiced skepticism about touting hydroxychloroquine as a treatment for coronavirus before it could be adequately tested.
Recently, a US Health and Human Services whistleblower alleged he came under pressure from political leadership at HHS to make hydroxychloroquine widely available after Trump repeatedly proclaimed its potential benefits during his daily White House briefings.
(Photos, YouTube; via CNN)