States stockpiling hydroxychloroquine: report
States and local governments are stockpiling the anti-malaria drug hydroxychloroquine, according to an Associated Press report, which President Trump has touted as a “game changer” for COVID-19 patients.
States and localities have obtained about 30 million doses of hydroxychloroquine, according to data compiled by the AP from state and federal officials.
The news service reports that at least 22 states and Washington, D.C., secured shipments of the drug, noting that 16 of those states were won by Trump in 2016, but five are now led by Democratic governors.
Oklahoma, for example, spent $2 million to buy the drugs, and Utah and Ohio spent hundreds of thousands of dollars on purchases, according to AP. The other cities and states received free shipments from drug companies or the U.S. government over the last month, it added.
A private New Jersey-based company called Amneal Pharmaceutical reportedly sent donations to New York, Connecticut, Oregon, Louisiana, North Carolina and Texas, and the Israeli company Teva Pharmaceutical donated 1 million doses to Florida.
Additionally, the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) said Friday that it sent out 14.4 million doses of the drug to 14 cities from the federal government’s national stockpile, according to the AP. FEMA said earlier this month it had sent out 19.1 million tablets of the drug from the national stockpile to cities and states across the country.
Hydroxychloroquine has not been approved by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) for treating or preventing COVID-19. The FDA issued a warning last week that the drug should not be taken outside of a hospital or clinical trial because of the risk of severe heart problems.
Despite health experts’ warnings against the risk of an unproven treatment, Trump has lauded the use of hydroxychloroquine and chloroquine either alone or combined with the antibiotic azithromycin.
Across the U.S., more than 967,500 confirmed COVID-19 cases have been reported, along with 54,931 deaths, according to data compiled by Johns Hopkins University.