I clearly heard President Trump’s enthusiasm over the possible efficacy of chloroquine and hydroxychloroquine to prevent and treat the Wuhan virus at yesterday’s White House task force press briefing. I was less clear on what I heard FDA Commissioner Stephen Hahn say and displayed my confusion in my comments on the press conference. In retrospect, I think he said that physicians can prescribe these drugs for off-label use to treat and prevent the Wuhan virus without the need for action by the FDA, or that this was implicit in his remarks. It is consistent with the clarification obtained by Anna Edney from the FDA for her Bloomberg News story.
And today comes word from Israel that Teva is pitching in:
Israeli pharmaceutical company Teva is donating millions of doses of a malaria drug that is believed to be effective in fighting the symptoms of the coronavirus.
The Jerusalem Post reports that the six million doses of hydroxychloroquine sulfate will be shipped to US hospitals started March 31. By the end of next month, 10 million will be shipped.
It is uncertain how effective the malaria treatment will be against coronavirus, but research is currently ongoing.
Brendan O’Grady, Teva Executive Vice President, North America Commercial, said, “We are committed to helping to supply as many tablets as possible as demand for this treatment accelerates at no cost.”
“Immediately upon learning of the potential benefit of hydroxychloroquine, Teva began to assess supply and to urgently acquire additional ingredients to make more product while arranging for all of what we had to be distributed immediately,” he stated.
One use of a crisis is to help you sort your friends from your enemies.