The federal government procured a massive stockpile of hydroxychloroquine in the months that Trump spent hyping the drug as a 'game changing' cure for the novel coronavirus, or COVID-19, but now the government literally can't give it away.
The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) revoked their emergency approval of the drug for use in coronavirus patients so the government now has an enormous supply of something they can't use.
And just how big is the stockpile? Over 63 million in number.
The government started stockpiling donated hydroxychloroquine in late March, after President Trump touted it as "very encouraging" and "very powerful" and a "game-changer." [...]
That leaves the Strategic National Stockpile with 63 million doses of hydroxychloroquine, plus another 2 million doses of chloroquine, a related drug donated by Bayer, according to Carol Danko, a spokesperson for the US Department of Health and Human Services.
"Nationally, we put a great emphasis on one drug, hydroxychloroquine," said David Holtgrave, the dean of the School of Public Health at the University at Albany, who co-authored a study of the drug as a treatment for coronavirus. "I worry that history will judge this as having over-invested in one treatment pathway as opposed to looking more broadly at a larger number of treatment candidates."
Hydroxychloroquine will still be prescribed to treat the conditions it was used for before, such as lupus, but that is a relatively rare condition and 63 million doses is a lot. Only about 5 million people worldwide have lupus.
Not all of the doses obtained by the federal government were purchased as some were donated by their manufacturers, but this much product does not move without someone making a killing off of it. Literally, in this case, as hydroxychloroquine led to more deaths in coronavirus patients than regular treatment alone.
In related news, the World Health Organization (WHO) has halted their clinical trials of hydroxychloroquine -- again -- because it just doesn't work.
WHO expert Ana Maria Henao-Restrepo said investigators leading the so-called Solidarity Trial testing the drug - which had been promoted by U.S. President Donald Trump - had reviewed recent evidence and decided to stop recruiting new patients.
"After deliberation, they have concluded that the hydroxychloroquine arm will be stopped from the Solidarity Trial," Henao-Restrepo told a media briefing. [...]
Data from those studies "showed that hydroxychloroquine does not result in the reduction of mortality of hospitalised COVID-19 patients," the WHO statement said.
I am reminded that Trump's son-in-law Jared Kushner led the effort to stockpile hydroxychloroquine which the White House once planned to dump in New York and New Jersey without any taking precautions.