The Department of Veterans Affairs and the Department of Justice Prison Office have both reported purchases of hydroxychloroquine since March 26, according to federal supply records.
The Department of Veterans Affairs purchased $ 40,000 in hydroxychloroquine sulfate tablets from the pharmaceutical company McKesson and $ 168,000 from the Colorado generic drug distributor Golden State Medical Supply. The two supply files list them as “emergency” purchase orders to deal with the coronavirus outbreak.
The Prison Office order form does not mention the coronavirus. But the purchase of $ 60,000 in hydroxychloroquine sulfate tablets from Premium Rx National came on March 31 – amid an escalating epidemic in federal correctional facilities that the office oversees and a few days before President Trump announced that he was storing millions of pills of the drug. It appears to be the first time that BOP has purchased the drug.
Neither the VA nor the BOP responded to requests for additional information on purchases, and how, or if, they would be used in the short term to treat patients with coronavirus.The use of taxpayer money on hydroxychloroquine by the two agencies occurred despite a heated debate among decision-makers and health professionals about the drug’s effectiveness in treating the virus, and the possibility that Sudden increase in demand for the drug could decrease the supply for these people. who use it to treat other illnesses like malaria, lupus and rheumatoid arthritis.
The dispute erupted in a closed meeting at the White House on Saturday, as reported by Axios. At the meeting, White House economic adviser Peter Navarro reportedly clashed with the director of the National Institute of Infectious Diseases, Dr. Anthony Fauci, over the efficacy of hydroxychloroquine as a treatment for coronaviruses.
Trump, for his part, has always promoted the drug as a potential panacea in efforts to fight the virus. Despite only anecdotal evidence that this has an impact, his supporters have voiced dissenting voices as shy at best and hostile at worst.
Last week, the Food and Drug Administration issued an emergency authorization that will allow the distribution of hydroxychloroquine and similar investigational drugs to the general public from the federal government’s supply of medical supplies. Two pharmaceutical companies, Novartis and Bayer, have donated more than 30 million doses to the stock, which appears to be what Trump was referring to when he discussed building a stock on Sunday.
The Department of Health and Human Services also recently approved hydroxychloroquine and two similar drugs, chloroquine and hydrochloroquine, for “compassionate use”, making them available to extremely ill patients who have exhausted other options. treatment.
Local governments such as New York and Michigan have reported promising anecdotal results from the use of hydroxychloroquine to treat the virus. But it has little scientific support. The University of Marseille study most often cited by drug boosters has been rejected by other academics in the field, and the newspaper in which it was published said last week that the study “does not does not meet the standards expected of the Company ”.
Many pro-Trump experts, however, are convinced of the drug’s effectiveness, especially those on Fox News shows whose president is known to take political clues.