Washington Post Opinion Piece
THE HYPE over the drug hydroxychloroquine was fueled by President Trump, who touted it repeatedly. The president’s claims were not backed by scientific evidence, but he was enthusiastic. “What do you have to lose?” he has asked. In desperation, the public snapped up pills and the Food and Drug Administration issued an emergency use authorization on March 28 for the drug to be given to hospitalized patients. On Thursday, Mr. Trump declared, “So we have had some great response, in terms of doctors writing letters and people calling on the hydroxychloroquine.”
Now comes the evidence. Two large studies of hospitalized patients in New York City have found the drug was essentially useless against the virus.
One study, by Eli S. Rosenberg and colleagues, published in the Journal of the American Medical Association, examined 1,438 patients suffering from infection across 25 hospitals in the New York area between March 15 and 28. The study also looked at those who received hydroxychloroquine along with the antibiotic azithromycin. Mr. Trump had heralded the combination as “a real chance to be one of the biggest game-changers in the history of medicine.” The conclusion of the study: “Among patients hospitalized in metropolitan New York with COVID-19, treatment with hydroxychloroquine, azithromycin, or both, compared with neither treatment, was not significantly associated with differences in in-hospital mortality.”
The second study, by Joshua Geleris and colleagues, examined 1,376 patients at New York-Presbyterian Hospital-Columbia University Irving Medical Center in northern Manhattan from March 7 to April 8. Their conclusion in the New England Journal of Medicine: “In this analysis involving a large sample of consecutive patients who had been hospitalized with Covid-19, the risk of intubation or death was not significantly higher or lower among patients who received hydroxychloroquine than among those who did not.” The results, they said, “do not support the use of hydroxychloroquine at present” except in clinical trials.
The two studies were observational. Separate, controlled clinical trials are underway, including one sponsored by the National Institutes of Health. But both of these hospital studies examined a group of patients significantly larger than the tiny, initial research by the maverick doctor Didier Raoult in Marseille, France, that triggered the frenzy.
Then there’s this story:
TRUMP’S MIRACLE DRUG: French Study of 1,000+ Patients Including Seniors See 98% Success Rate with Hydroxychloroquine-Azithromycin Regimen
In late March FOX News host, Laura Ingraham reported on the latest study by the French research team led by the renowned epidemiologist Dr. Didier Raoult was able to repeat his findings from a previous study.
This time Dr. Raoult administered hydroxychloroquine and azithromycin to 80 patients and observed improvement in EVERY CASE except for a very sick 86-year-old with an advanced form of coronavirus infection.
(Here are the details of the trials of this test. It may be hard to read.)
My Few Questions for the “Experts:”
• Why were not the findings of the two studies for the summary of their findings listed as are those in the French study? Isn’t it mandatory for a reputable study to disclose those findings so as to give them some credibility?
• Stories all over the news yesterday quoted “experts” and “doctors” who said, “Hydroxychloroquine will kill you.” Where are any facts to confirm those claims?
• If as media pundits keep saying that HCQ CAN kill you, why would the FDA even allow its use in any format under any conditions? “Will Kill” is pretty demonstrative and final.
• If tens of thousands of doctors around the world are self-prescribing Hydroxychloroquine for themselves as a prophylactic against COVID-19, doesn’t it make medical sense there should be a sound basis for their doing so?
• Why do the deaths of 60,000 Americans not spur the “experts” to conduct the clinical trials they demand are necessary to green-light Hydroxychloroquine for formal use against COVD-19 in an emergency 24/7 setting? Could it be that either 60,000 is to them an acceptable loss of life against a virus or could it be there’s some reason they want to downplay the efficacy of Hydroxychloroquine for use against COVID-19?
It is curious that although the new “miracle COVID-19 drug” remdisivir is still in early testing and there are no completed clinical trial studies from which its efficacy is confirmed – in Dr. Fauci’s analysis of Hydroxychloroquine’s test results, remdisivir’s results currently would be called “anecdotal” as he has termed Dr. Raoult’s results – the FDA immediately when notified of its readiness for clinical trials green-lighted remdisivir human tests. That is VERY rare.
Many experts feel there is an economic purpose for the downplay of Hydroxychloroquine’s benefits of treating the virus.
Wait: don’t think for a second big Pharma has no stake in this pandemic and therefore no concern for the findings of clinical trials for both remdisivir and Hydroxychloroquine. That’s exactly what Democrats who were begging for control of the House in the 2018 election promised they would immediately do after being sworn: FORCE BIG PHARMA TO SLASH DRUG PRICES FOR EVERYDAY AMERICANS! That has NOT happened. Any price reductions in prescription drugs Americans have seen came about by measures taken by the Trump Administration with NO involvement of Congress. Big Pharma is “Big” solely because of their monopolies in the U.S. perpetuated by the largest and most financially qualified to “facilitate the legislative concerns” of Big Pharma: Lobbyists.
Several years ago I spent two months on business in Switzerland. My original plan was for that trip to last two weeks at most. I had prescriptions that while there needed to be refilled. I had my doctor email those prescriptions from the U.S. and headed to a Swiss pharmacy. To be brief, one month of my prescriptions purchased at my pharmacy at home cost about $150. The exact same prescription drugs in Switzerland cost $35.
What’s the difference? Big Pharma through U.S. federal legislation through the years has parlayed contacts with legislators to make sure drug prices are artificially inflated that are sold in the U.S.!
You don’t think they see drugs for COVID-19 as the latest gravy train they need to control?
By the way, I have a Hydroxychloroquine and Azithromycin prescription that I WILL fill if and when I show the first symptom of COVID-19. I have total confidence in MY doctor who told me to do it because he’s doing it!