Reproduced from Vaduganathan et al., 2020, "Prescription Fill Patterns for Commonly Used Drugs During the COVID-19 Pandemic in the United States"; Chart: Axios Visuals

Prescription fills of chloroquine and hydroxychloroquine soared in March, after they were put in the political spotlight by President Trump, according to a new study in JAMA.

Why it matters: The evidence suggests that the drug is not an effective treatment for the coronavirus, and is even dangerous for some patients.

Between the lines: The drug's notoriety exploded in mid-March, when the administration secured millions of donated doses of the drug and President Trump publicly touted it.

  • The administration's actions surrounding chloroquine have since been criticized by Rick Bright, a former senior HHS official who has filed a whistleblower complaint.

By the numbers: During the week of March 15–21, hydroxychloroquine and chloroquine fills increased from 2019 levels by 1,977% for short-term prescriptions, by 179% for medium-term prescriptions, and by 182% for long-term prescriptions.

  • By the end of April, prescription fills for less than 60 tablets were still significantly higher than historical amounts. But those for more than 60 tablets had decreased compared to 2019, "which could indicate decreased availability for patients with systemic lupus erythematosus and rheumatoid arthritis," the authors write.
  • Overall, there were 483,425 excess fills of the drug in the 10 weeks examined by the study, compared with 2019.

Go deeper: Trump says he's taking hydroxychloroquine despite FDA warnings

Go deeper

Robert Mueller speaks out on Roger Stone commutation

Former Special Counsel Robert Mueller testifies before the House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence on Capitol Hill on Wednesday July 24, 2019. Photo: The Washington Post / Contributor

Former special counsel Robert Mueller responded to claims from President Trump and his allies that Roger Stone was a "victim" in the Justice Department's investigation into Russian interference in the 2016 election, writing in a Washington Post op-ed published Saturday: "He remains a convicted felon, and rightly so."

Why it matters: The rare public comments by Mueller come on the heels of President Trump's move to commute the sentence of his longtime associate, who was sentenced in February to 40 months in prison for crimes stemming from the Russia investigation. The controversial decision brought an abrupt end to the possibility of Stone spending time behind bars.

Trump dons face mask during Walter Reed visit

Trump wearing a face mask in Walter Reed National Military Medical Center on July 11. Photo: Alex Edelman/AFP via Getty Images

President Trump wore a face mask during his Saturday visit to Walter Reed National Military Medical Center, according to AP.

Why it matters: This is the first known occasion the president has appeared publicly with a facial covering as recommended by health officials since the coronavirus pandemic began, AP writes.

Updated 13 hours ago - Politics & Policy

Coronavirus dashboard

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

  1. Global: Total confirmed cases as of 5:30 p.m. ET: 12,607,510 — Total deaths: 562,338 — Total recoveries — 6,948,863Map.
  2. U.S.: Total confirmed cases as of 5:30 p.m. ET: 3,228,884 — Total deaths: 134,600 — Total recoveries: 983,185 — Total tested: 38,919,421Map.
  3. Public health: Jimmy and Rosalynn Carter: "Please wear a mask to save lives" Fauci hasn't briefed Trump on the coronavirus pandemic in at least two months — We're losing the war on the coronavirus.
  4. Food: How the coronavirus pandemic boosted alternative meat.
  5. Sports: Charge of "money grab" by college football.
  6. World: India reimposes lockdowns as coronavirus cases soar.