Trump Repeats False Claim That FDA Approved Malaria Drug Chloroquine for Covid-19

Date: 2020-03-19 19:58:56

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While speaking to U.S. state governors at FEMA headquarters in Washington, D.C. on Thursday, President Trump, again, said the FDA had approved malaria drug chloroquine for treatment of Covid-19, a claim the FDA has denied. #Coronavirus #Covid19 #Chloroquine

Earlier Thursday during an at-times-confusing White House press conference, Trump said that chloroquine was approved for use and that he wanted to “remove every barrier” to test more drugs against Covid-19 and “allow many more Americans to access drugs that have shown really good promise.”

The drug, chloroquine, hasn’t yet been approved for treatment of Covid-19, the disease caused by the new coronavirus. While it’s been available for decades for malaria, it’s not clear whether it will work against the new illness. A March 10 review of existing research found that there’s little solid proof one way or the other.

“Normally the FDA would take a long time to approve something like that, and it’s — it was approved very, very quickly and it’s now approved by prescription,” Trump said.

An FDA spokesperson said the drug had not been approved for use in Covid-19 patients. However, U.S. doctors are legally able to prescribe a drug for any illness or condition they think is medically appropriate.

More than a dozen generic drugmakers, including Teva Pharmaceutical Industries Ltd, Mylan NV and Novartis AG’s Sandoz unit manufacture chloroquine, also called hydroxychloroquine. It comes with few major known side effects, is relatively inexpensive and is widely used around the world. It’s also been touted by Tesla Inc. CEO Elon Musk as a potential treatment, and China has been testing it as well.

Other drugmakers are also developing experimental treatments and vaccines for Covid-19, with results from a Gilead Sciences Inc. drug, remdesivir, expected next month.

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