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FDA Authorizes Use of Drugs Trump Championed

Scientists say there is little evidence supporting move
By Rob Quinn,  Newser Staff
Posted Mar 30, 2020 7:39 AM CDT

(Newser) – Two anti-malaria drugs that President Trump has championed have been authorized for emergency use in treating COVID-19 patients. The Food and Drug Administration issued an emergency use authorization, allowing hydroxychloroquine and chloroquine to be prescribed "when a clinical trial is not available or feasible," Politico reports. Trump has described hydroxychloroquine as having a chance "to be one of the biggest game changers in the history of medicine," though some scientists say there is little or no evidence to back up the claim. Former FDA acting chief scientist Luciana Borio tweeted that she would like to see who signed off on the order, "despite the total lack of scientific evidence that chloroquine/hydroxychloroquine are beneficial in the treatment of COVID-19."

Emergency use authorizations, Borio said, are "supposed to be issued when the evidence indicates that benefits outweigh the risks." The federal government says drugmaker Sandoz has donated 30 million doses of hydroxychloroquine to the national stockpile and Bayer has donated 1 million doses of chloroquine. In Canada, the director general of Quebec's health institute issued a statement Sunday saying the "uncertainty surrounding the efficacy and safety of these treatments does not support the widespread use of chloroquine or hydroxychloroquine, regardless of the stage of the disease," the CBC reports. Dr. Luc Boileau, the institute's director-general says "it has not been even close to proven that this medication should be used on a global scale," though scientists are working hard to complete clinical trials as rapidly as possible. (Twitter deleted a false claim from Rudy Giuliani about hydroxychloroquine.)

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