"Guaranteed." That word has gotten San Diego physician Jennings Staley in hot water after he allegedly promoted—and offered to sell—the drug hydroxychloroquine as a cure for COVID-19, CNN reports. Staley had offered the drug on his website (now taken down) and cited President Trump's enthusiasm for it in battling the coronavirus disease. "It's preventative and curative," Staley told an undercover FBI agent pretending to be a customer over the phone, per the New York Times. "It's hard to believe, it's almost too good to be true. But it's a remarkable clinical phenomenon." According to a federal criminal complaint, the agent asked whether the Staley's COVID-19 drug kit would "cure" his family, and Staley said, "Guaranteed."
But when agents visited his office at Skinny Beach Med Spa, Staley said he never made any such claim. "No, that would be foolish," he apparently said. "We would never say anything like that." Now the feds have charged Staley with mail fraud for selling "COVID-19 treatment packs" that cost $3,995—at least in the family pack size—and included the antibacterial drug Azithromycin, intravenous drips, anti-anxiety treatments, use of a medical hyperbaric oxygen chamber, and, of course, hydroxychloroquine. The drug has been approved for ailments from lupus to malaria, and received emergency FDA authorization as a possible aid for people hospitalized with COVID-19. Staley's lawyer says his client was only trying to help people. (One review found "cardiac" issues in patients given hydroxychloroquine.)