Updated May 18, 2020 - Health

Trump says he's taking hydroxychloroquine despite FDA warnings

President Trump said at a roundtable Monday that he's been taking the antimalarial drug hydroxychloroquine and a zinc supplement for "about a week and a half" as a preventative measure against the coronavirus.

Why it matters: The FDA issued a warning last month that the unproven drug should only be taken in hospitals because of the risk of heart complications. There's no substantiated evidence that taking hydroxychloroquine prevents COVID-19 infections.

The big picture: Rick Bright, the former head of a key government vaccine agency, testified last week that he believes he was ousted from his position because of his resistance to promoting hydroxychloroquine, which has long been touted by Trump and his allies in conservative media.

  • Bright said that he supported the use of hydroxychloroquine under the supervision of a physician. But when HHS leadership issued a directive to make the drug more broadly available, Bright says he resisted: "I did not think it was the proper or safe way to evaluate that drug in the context of this outbreak."
  • Hydroxychloroquine is currently being studied as a potential preventative for health care workers with high risk of exposure to coronavirus patients.

What he's saying:

"I asked [the White House doctor], what do you think? He said if you'd like it. I said yeah, I'd like it. A lot of front-line workers are taking hydroxychloroquine. I don't take it because — hey, people said oh maybe he owns the company. No, I don't own the company. I want the people of this nation to feel good. I don't want them being sick. And there is a very good chance that this has an impact, especially early on. But you look at front-line workers. You look at doctors and nurses. A lot of them are taking it. As a preventative."


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