Apr 25, 2020 - Health

States stockpile hydroxychloroquine for coronavirus as FDA issues warning

Hydroxychloroquine tablets

Photo: Soumyabrata Roy/NurPhoto via Getty Images

At least 22 states and Washington, D.C., are building up stores of the anti-malarial drug President Trump previously touted as a possible solution for the novel coronavirus, AP reports.

Why it matters: The Food and Drug Administration advised doctors Friday against prescribing hydroxychloroquine or the related drug chloroquine to coronavirus patients as it appears to be causing some serious and potentially life-threatening side effects.

  • 'The warning comes as doctors at a New York hospital published a report that heart rhythm abnormalities developed in most of 84 coronavirus patients treated with hydroxychloroquine and the antibiotic azithromycin, a combo Trump has promoted," AP notes.

What they're saying: "While clinical trials are ongoing to determine the safety and effectiveness of these drugs for COVID-19, there are known side effects of these medications that should be considered," FDA Commissioner Stephen Hahn said.

The state of play: Some health experts worry the public could misuse the drug if it is made more widely available.

  • Oklahoma spent $2 million acquiring the drugs.
  • Utah and Ohio spent hundreds of thousands of dollars, per AP.
  • New York, Connecticut, Oregon, Louisiana, North Carolina and Texas also received donations of the drug from Amneal Pharmaceutical, a private company in New Jersey.
  • Florida received 1 million doses from the Israeli company Teva Pharmaceutical.

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