#parents | #teensvaping | FDA Approves Emergency Use Of Malaria Drug Trump Touted Despite Scant Evidence That It Works

Scientists have been quick to try to counter President Donald Trump’s praise of a potential treatment for the coronavirus. But some say that since hydroxychloroquine and chloroquine at least don’t seem to worsen COVID-19, it might be worth the try. “We have literally nothing else to offer these patients other than supportive care,” said Dr. David Juurlink, an internist from Canada.

FDA Issues Emergency Authorization Of Anti-Malaria Drug For Coronavirus Care

The Food and Drug Administration on Sunday issued an emergency use authorization for hydroxychloroquine and chloroquine, decades-old malaria drugs championed by President Donald Trump for coronavirus treatment despite scant evidence. The agency allowed for the drugs to be “donated to the Strategic National Stockpile to be distributed and prescribed by doctors to hospitalized teen and adult patients with COVID-19, as appropriate, when a clinical trial is not available or feasible,” HHS said in a statement, announcing that Sandoz donated 30 million doses of hydroxychloroquine to the stockpile and Bayer donated 1 million doses of chloroquine. (Diamond, 3/29)

Trump’s Push For Risky Malaria Drugs Disrupts Coronavirus Response

President Donald Trump’s all-out push to advance unproven coronavirus treatments is deepening a divide between the White House and career health officials, who are being pulled away from other potential projects to address the president’s hunch that decades-old malaria medicines can be coronavirus cures. The White House directed health officials to set up a project to track if the antimalarial drugs chloroquine and hydroxychloroquine show promise — a dayslong effort that distracted from urgent tasks like trials of other medicines thought to have more potential against the virus. (Owermohle and Diamond, 3/27)

What We Know — And Don’t Know — About Possible Coronavirus Treatments Promoted By Trump

President Donald Trump’s excitement about decades-old anti-malarial drugs to treat the coronavirus has touched off widespread interest in the medications, hoarding by some doctors, new clinical trials on the fly and desperation among patients who take them for other conditions. Many experts say there isn’t enough evidence that the drugs work for the coronavirus, but at least a few say there’s little to lose in giving hydroxychloroquine to patients who are severely ill with coronavirus. (Ornstein, 3/29)

Los Angeles Times:
Coronavirus: Risks Of Using Malaria Drugs Off-Label To Treat COVID-19

The prospect that a pair of malaria drugs will become go-to medications for treating COVID-19 before they’ve been rigorously tested is prompting new safety warnings from heart specialists and other doctors. President Trump has touted the drugs chloroquine and hydroxychloroquine as a potential “game changer” for patients sickened by the novel coronavirus. Political activists are urging doctors to prescribe them, and federal officials have asked pharmaceutical manufacturers to make their stocks of these drugs available for immediate use. (Healy, 3/28)
In other news —

Experts Say COVID-19 Will Likely Lead To US Drug Shortages

Researchers at the University of Minnesota say the COVID-19 pandemic stands a good chance of leading to shortages of critically needed medications in the United States, given the nation’s heavy dependence on drugs made in other countries, especially India and China. That concern is among the preliminary findings of a study of the US medication supply chain, revealed this week by the university’s Center for Infectious Disease Research and Policy (CIDRAP), publisher of CIDRAP News. (Roos, 3/27)

At Kaiser, Trump’s Pharmaceutical Advice Creates Chaos For Lupus Patients

The COVID-19 pandemic threatens access to drug treatment for lupus patients, in part because the prevailing drug of choice for lupus was touted by the president as a “game changer” in the fight against coronavirus.Chloraquine and hydroxychloroquine are drugs commonly used to treat rheumatoid arthritis and lupus, which are disorders of the immune system. Oakland-based Kaiser Permanente patients say they’ve received inconsistent advice about the availability of this treatment from one day to the next, and they’re concerned the supply won’t hold out. (Peterson, 3/29)

This is part of the KHN Morning Briefing, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription.

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