The government began piling up donations of hydroxychloroquine in late March after President Trump touted him as “very encouraging” and “very powerful” and a “game changer.”
But on Monday, the FDA revoked its emergency use authorization to use the drug to treat Covid-19, saying that there is “no reason to believe” that the drug was effective against the virus. , and that it increased the risk of side effects, including heart problems.
Many public health experts point this to an unfortunate chapter in the history of the pandemic to date.
“Nationally, we have focused on one drug, hydroxychloroquine,” said David Holtgrave, dean of the School of Public Health at the University at Albany, co-author of the study. of drugs as a treatment for coronavirus. “I am afraid that history will judge, this over-invested in a pathway treatment, as opposed to looking more generally at a larger number of candidates for treatment. ”
Before the FDA revoked its authorization, the reserve had already dispensed 31 million doses. Novartis and Mylan donated doses of the drug to the reserve.
“HHS is to work with companies that have donated the product to determine the options available for the product that remains in the National Strategic Reserve,” Danko wrote in a statement to the CNN chain.
Hydroxychloroquine has been used for many years to treat diseases such as malaria, rheumatoid arthritis, lupus. After President of Trump began claiming hydroxychloroquine as a treatment for Covid-19, patients with these illnesses reported having difficulty finding drugs.
The news about leftover doses was first reported in The New York Times.
Last month, FDA Commissioner Dr. Stephen Hahn wrote that his agency decision to authorize hydroxychloroquine in March “was based on the assessment of the EUA criteria and the scientific evidence available to it. time. ”
However, many infectious disease specialists, including those who have studied the drug for coronavirus, say there has never been any evidence that the drug worked for the virus.
This French study had so many problems that the company that published it gave up on it.
First, the study did not conclude that the drug worked for Covid patients, but only that it decreased the amount of virus present in the nose and throat.
Also, it was a very small study – only 20 patients – and it ignored patients who took hydroxychloroquine and died or ended in the intensive care unit.
Following complaints about the study the International Study of Chemotherapy, which published the study in its medical journal, concluded that the study “failed to meet the Society’s standard.” ”
Since then, two large studies have found that the drug is ineffective against coronaviruses. One such study, published in the Journal of the American Medical Association, also found that Covid patients who took the drug were twice as likely to experience cardiac arrest.