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Trump pitches drug unapproved for coronavirus

Published on April 5, 2020 9:24 PM
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WASHINGTON (AP) President Donald Trump is pitching a medicine for COVID-19 sufferers that science has not concluded is effective or safe for their use. Take it, he said of the drug.For people sick with the coronavirus, he said Sunday, It can help them but its not going to hurt them. In fact, it may or may not help some people, and it may or may not hurt them.

His straight-ahead advocacy of hydroxychloroquine, a malaria drug, is the latest and one of the most consequential examples of Trump and public-health authorities not being on the same page in the pandemic.

His statement came on a weekend when Trump also misrepresented the facts behind his firing of the intelligence communitys inspector general whose handling of a whistleblower complaint led to impeachment proceedings against the president.

A look at his weekend remarks


TRUMP, on the governments decision to stockpile millions of doses of hydroxychloroquine drug to make it available for patients with COVID-19 What do you have to lose Ill say it again What do you have to lose Take it. I really think they should take it. But its their choice and its their doctors choice, or the doctors in the hospital. But hydroxychloroquine try it, if youd like. news briefing Saturday.

TRUMP They say taking it before the fact is good. ... Im not acting as a doctor. Im saying do what you want. ... It can help them but its not going to hurt them. briefing Sunday night.

THE FACTS Hes making unverified claims about a drug that can have serious side effects and may not work. The drug has not been approved as a treatment for COVID-19 and Trumps own health experts say more studies are needed to know whether its safe and effective to use.

The president has been talking up hydroxychloroquine, a drug long used to treat malaria, rheumatoid arthritis and lupus, after very small preliminary studies suggested it might help prevent coronavirus from entering cells and possibly help patients clear the virus sooner. Doctors can already prescribe the malaria drug to patients with COVID-19, a practice known as off-label prescribing.

But the drug has major potential side effects, especially for the heart, and large studies are underway to see if it is safe and effective for treating coronavirus.

On Friday, Dr. Anthony Fauci of the National Institutes of Health and member of the White House coronavirus task force, said Americans shouldnt consider hydroxychloroquine a knockout drug.

We still need to do the definitive studies to determine whether any intervention, not just this one, is truly safe and effective, he said on Fox News.

The American Medical Association, the American Pharmacists Association and the American Society of Health-System Pharmacists in a joint statement

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