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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

Kamala Harris says she "would not trust" Trump on coronavirus vaccine

Sen. Kamala Harris during a campaign event on Aug. 27. Photo: Michael A. McCoy/Getty Images

Democratic vice presidential nominee Sen. Kamala Harris told CNN in an interview airing Sunday she "would not trust" President Trump "about the efficacy and the reliability" of a coronavirus vaccine if approved before November's election.

Driving the news: The CDC has requested governors "urgently" speed up their permit applications so vaccine distribution sites are operational by early November. The Trump administration has this week pushed back on questions of political interference in vaccine development.

Updated 1 hour ago - Politics & Policy

Coronavirus dashboard

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

  1. Health: Large coronavirus outbreaks leading to high death rates — Coronavirus cases are at an all-time high ahead of Election Day.
  2. Politics: Top HHS spokesperson pitched coronavirus ad campaign as "helping the president" — Space Force's No. 2 general tests positive for coronavirus.
  3. World: Taiwan reaches a record 200 days with no local coronavirus cases.
  4. Sports: MLB to investigate Dodgers player who joined celebration after positive COVID test.
  5. 🎧Podcast: The vaccine race turns toward nationalism.
Sep 5, 2020 - World

China calls for U.S. visitors to show negative COVID-19 tests

People inside the Beijing International Airport in June. Photo: STR/AFP via Getty Images

China will demand that passengers taking direct flights from the U.S. provide negative coronavirus test results within 72 hours before takeoff starting Sept. 15, China’s U.S. embassy said in a statement.

Why it matters: The requirement is among the latest restrictions Beijing has imposed on the U.S. The Chinese government prevented U.S. airlines from resuming flights to China in June, and the Trump administration banned Chinese passenger airlines from flying to the U.S. in retaliation.