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Pavlich: The media’s about-face on hydroxychloroquine

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When President Trump dared to suggest the decades-old malaria drug hydroxychloroquine may help patients with the coronavirus, he was accused by reporters and commentators of dangerously “playing doctor” and engaging in “happy talk” about the disease.

“A Mad Scramble to Stock Millions of Malaria Pills, Likely for Nothing,” The New York Times fretted. “The Food and Drug Administration’s abrupt decision this week to revoke an emergency waiver for two malaria drugs promoted by President Trump as potential ‘game changers’ against the coronavirus has left 66 million doses stranded in the federal stockpile — and officials do not yet know what they will do with them.”

The media even held Trump responsible for the death of a man who drank fish tank cleaner labeled “chloroquine.”

But then, examples of the prescription medication saving lives began to come in.

First, Michigan Democratic state Rep. Karen Whitsett credited the drug with saving her life. She visited the White House in April to tell her story and thanked the president for publicizing it as a potential option.

“Had you not brought this to the forefront of, the HQ, of being able to put this out here, I wouldn’t be here today to even have this conversation with you and to be able to talk about the needs of Detroit and talk about the people who really need this. And they need help,” she said.

At the time of Whitsett’s recovery, doctors around the country were also prescribing hydroxychloroquine in combination with zinc and seeing positive results for suffering patients.

Further, doctors around the world were prescribing it because it was working.

“An international poll of thousands of doctors rated the Trump-touted anti-malaria drug hydroxychloroquine the best treatment for the novel coronavirus. Of the 2,171 physicians surveyed, 37 percent rated hydroxychloroquine the ‘most effective therapy’ for combating the potentially deadly illness,” the New York Post reported in April. “The survey, conducted by the global health care polling company Sermo, also found that 23 percent of medical professionals had prescribed the drug in the U.S. — far less than other countries.”

And finally, a survey of 1,271 American doctors found the vast majority of them would prescribe the drug to a family member.

“Sixty-five percent of physicians across the United States said they would prescribe the anti-malaria drugs chloroquine or hydroxychloroquine to treat or prevent COVID-19 in a family member,” the April survey, conducted by health care firm Jackson & Coker, found. “Thirty-percent of the surveyed doctors said they would prescribe the medications to a family member prior to the onset of symptoms if they had been exposed to COVID-19,” they found. “Sixty-seven percent of surveyed physicians said they would take the medications themselves to treat COVID-19. Fifty-six percent said they would take the anti-malarial if they displayed symptoms and another 11 percent said they would take the medications if they got very sick from the virus.”

Now, a new study from the Henry Ford Health System shows the drug has in fact been effective in combatting the coronavirus, especially when used during early stages of the disease.

“A surprising new study found the controversial antimalarial drug hydroxychloroquine helped patients better survive in the hospital,” CNN reports. “A team at Henry Ford Health System in southeast Michigan said Thursday their study of 2,541 hospitalized patients found that those given hydroxychloroquine were much less likely to die. Dr. Marcus Zervos, division head of infectious disease for Henry Ford Health System, said 26% of those not given hydroxychloroquine died, compared to 13% of those who got the drug.” The team reviewed everyone treated in the hospital system since March.

Surprising? Not to those who have been able to see through the cloud of hysterical, anti-Trump bias and look at the facts. President Trump should be praised, not vilified, for quickly breaking down bureaucratic barriers, making the drug widely available should doctors choose to prescribe it to sick coronavirus patients.

Pavlich is the editor for and a Fox News contributor.

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