Florida to receive 1M more doses of hydroxychloroquine, which Trump touts as COVID-19 treatment

Posted at 9:07 AM, Apr 08, 2020

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. — On Tuesday, Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis said that the state will receive more than 1 million doses of an anti-malarial drug that's being touted as a treatment for the novel coronavirus by President Donald Trump.

DeSantis said he worked with Amneal Pharmaceuticals to secure a million more doses of hydroxychloroquine — a medication that has shown some promise in treating COVID-19 in very limited studies but has yet to be approved by the FDA for use with the virus.

The medication is set to arrive in Tallahassee on Wednesday and will then be sent to hospitals across the state. It follows two previous shipments from another pharmaceutical company.

Dr. Carlos Campo, the head of a Tallahassee Memorial Healthcare ICU, explained why it might make sense for some coronavirus patients to used the medication even though it has not been proven as an effective treatment on a large scale.

"You're not going to necessarily wait for the results of the clinical trial if you have some data, not just in the lab, but in communities where the drug has been used that there may be a benefit," Campo said. "Of course, the benefit needs to outweigh the risk."

Campo said some of the risks of the medication include heart arrhythmia. He urged people not to try the drug without a physician's recommendation.

While Trump has touted the use of the drug during press briefings in recent weeks, some health experts in his administration remain wary of recommending the use of the drug without further testing. Multiple outlets reported that Dr. Anthony Fauci, the director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, took issue with assistant to the president Peter Navarro's suggestion that Americans use the drug during a heated White House meeting.

This story was originally published by Forrest Saunders on WTXL in Tallahassee, Florida.