Posts tagged with "Hydroxychloroquine"

Roll Call exclusive: States plan to independently vet COVID-19 vaccine data

September 18, 2020

Governors, including New York’s Andrew Cuomo, are publicly raising doubts about the FDA’s and the CDC’s ability to withstand pressure from President Donald Trump to develop a coronavirus vaccine at warp speed, Roll Call reported exclusively on September 17.

Those same officials are expressing skepticism about federal reviews of potential COVID-19 vaccines—with some going so far as to plan to independently analyze clinical trial data before distributing a vaccine, in a sign of how sharply trust in federal health agencies has fallen this year.

The wariness—which public health experts call highly unusual if not unprecedented—could undercut the goal of a cohesive national immunization strategy and create a patchwork of efforts that may sabotage hopes of containing the coronavirus.

State plans to review the data indicate how deeply any appearance of political meddling could disrupt vaccination and cost lives Roll Call says.

And it’s not a surprise that some red states appear more likely to rely on the Trump Administration, while blue states may scour the data and be more cautious about vaccinating their residents immediately.

CQ Roll Call contacted state health departments in 50 states and the District of Columbia and received substantive responses from a dozen:

  • Seven jurisdictions indicated that they would analyze the data independently: California, Colorado, the District of Columbia, Michigan, New York, Oregon and West Virginia.
  • Another two—Montana and Wyoming—said they would only administer a vaccine that completed clinical trials and an outside committee’s review.
  • Three states —Arizona, Georgia and Oklahoma— indicated they would accept federal recommendations as usual.

 “The president says he’s going to have a vaccine. CDC is talking about a vaccine in early November. How convenient. It’s going to be an Election Day miracle drug,” New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo, a Democrat, said earlier this month.

Cuomo referenced the FDA’s emergency use authorization earlier this year of a drug touted by Trump, hydroxychloroquine, which the agency later withdrew after finding the drug was not effective against COVID-19 and could lead to dangerous heart conditions. “Some people are concerned that the vaccine may wind up being hydroxychloroquine,” he said, adding that the state health department will review the research before recommending that New Yorkers take any vaccine.

Nearly 200,000 Americans have died of COVID-19, according to the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine.

Research contact: @rollcall

NYT: President Trump has ‘financial interest’ in hydroxychloroquine manufacturer

April 8, 2020

For days, rumors have been rampant on social media—speculating that President Donald Trump is recommending (nay, hyping) the use of hydroxychloroquine as a potential cure for COVID-19 because he has invested in the company that manufactures the drug. Now, The New York Times confirms the scuttlebutt.

In fact, the Times reports, the president has a “small financial interest” in the maker of the anti-malarial drug that he has been touting as a “game changer” in treating coronavirus.

The news outlet notes that the president’s family trusts all have investments in a mutual fund whose largest holding is Sanofi, the Paris, France-based manufacturer of Plaquenil, the brand-name version of hydroxychloroquine.

Associates of the president, including Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross, also have run funds that hold investments in the pharmaceutical firm.

Thus, it is a little less confounding that, over the past two weeks, Trump and his Fox News allies have aggressively promoted hydroxychloroquine as a potential coronavirus cure—despite strong pushback from top infectious-disease expert Dr. Anthony Fauci and others urging caution and noting that there currently is not enough evidence of the drug’s efficacy.

A case in point: President Trump made a rare appearance in the Situation Room on Sunday, April 5, as his pandemic task force was meeting, determined to talk about the anti-malaria medicine that he has aggressively promoted lately as a treatment for the coronavirus.

Once again, according to a person briefed on the session, the experts warned against overselling a drug yet to be proved a safe remedy, particularly for heart patients. “Yes, the heart stuff,” Trump acknowledged. Then he headed out to the cameras to promote it anyway. “So what do I know?” he conceded to reporters at his daily briefing. “I’m not a doctor. But I have common sense.”

Again and again, the president has made a passing reference to the dangerous side effects of the unproven drug, followed by a full-throated endorsement. “What do you have to lose?” he asked five times on Sunday.

Along the way, he has prompted an international debate about a drug that many doctors in New York and elsewhere have been trying on patients in desperation— even without conclusive scientific studies.

But Trump continues to push, the Times reports: At his briefing after the meeting, he said it was wrong to wait for the kind of study Dr. Fauci wanted. “We don’t have time,” the president said. “We don’t have two hours because there are people dying right now.”

Research contact: @nytimes