Florida Bought 1 Million Doses Of Trump-Promoted Drug — And Used Almost None

Donald Trump has heavily promoted the drug hydroxychloroquine, which has been studied for use in patients suffering the worst effects of COVID-19. Though studies have had mixed results, and the drug can be dangerous to some patients, some of the studies have supported limited use for the SARS-CoV2 virus. However, the key word there may be ‘limited’ — as Florida is disovering. The state purchased a million doses of the drug, and is still holding over 98% of those, because hospitals don’t want it.

Trump touted drug not needed in Fla
[Photo by GEORGE FREY/AFP via Getty Images]

In March, Trump continued to promote the Hydroxychloroquine and Azithromycin combination, despite concerns from medical experts. He also claimed he was taking the drug himself as a preventative measure, even having his doctor release a statement hinting, but not actually confirming, that the president was actually on a hydroxychloroquine regimen.

Now, Science Mag reports that the preponderance of studies do not support the use of hydroxychloroquine, and even studies that suggest it might be useful in some contexts don’t necessarily make it a handy thing for hospitals to have in significant stocks.

In fact, a major use still being studied is prophylaxis — a preventative. Yes, exactly what Trump claimed to be using the drug for, though it would be unusual for the U.S. president to be a participant in a clinical trial, particularly for a drug that has resulted in increased deaths of patients in some randomized trials.

However, a patient in a hospital setting is likely past the phase of seeking preventative measures, and instead at the point of seeking treatment or cure. This could be why most of the doses Florida ordered are still sitting unwanted, because hospitals don’t have a use for them.

According to Politico, Florida Governor Ron DeSantis announced in April that the state had ordered 1 million doses. Now, only 16.1k (or about 1.6%) of those have been requested by hospitals in the state.

A spokesperson for DeSantis said that this was because the outbreak in Florida hadn’t overwhelmed the hospital system, and that ventilators and ICU beds had kept the state from needing the drug.

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