Senator Kamala Harris (D., Calif.) on Wednesday labeled President Trump a ‘drug-pusher’ for continually touting hydroxychloroquine as a possible treatment for coronavirus.
“The president keeps taking the stage and as opposed to what Dr. [Anthony] Fauci and medical health professionals are telling us, pushing this drug,” Harris said on The View. “He’s got to stop — he’s not — we don’t want a drug pusher for president.”
Hydroxychloroquine is an anti-malarial drug that anecdotal reports indicate has been effective in treating some coronavirus patients. There has not, however, been conclusive clinical evidence of its efficacy. The New York Times on Tuesday touted Trump’s “small personal financial interest” in a French company that produces the drug, even though Trump’s investment in the company amounts to roughly $1,000.
“I certainly understand why the president is pushing it,” Dr. Joshua Rosenberg of Brooklyn Hospital Center said in a different Times article on Monday. “He’s the president of the United States. He has to project hope….So I’m not faulting him for pushing it even if there isn’t a lot of science behind it, because it is, at this point, the best, most available option for use.”
Dr. Anthony Fauci, head of the National Institute for Allergy and Infectious Diseases, has cautioned against investing too much faith in the drug.
“I think we’ve got to be careful that we don’t make that majestic leap to assume that this is a knockout drug,” Fauci told Fox News on Friday. “We still need to do the kinds of studies that definitively prove whether any intervention, not just this one, any intervention is truly safe and effective.”
Fauci and economic adviser Peter Navarro, both members of the White House Coronavirus Task Force, sparred on Saturday over the drug’s effectiveness during a meeting. Navarro was apparently incensed that Fauci maintained that hydroxychloroquine’s effectiveness was not scientifically proven.
“It was pretty clear that everyone was just trying to get Peter to sit down and stop being so confrontational,” a person familiar with the meeting told Axios.
New York governor Andrew Cuomo on Monday said he would ask Trump to increase the supply of hydroxychloroquine to the state’s hospitals. The state is a coronavirus hotspot,
“There has been anecdotal evidence that it is promising,” Cuomo told reporters, while noting the drug’s effectiveness has not yet been scientifically proven.