White House trade adviser Peter Navarro is leading a Trump administration effort to demand the Food and Drug Administration reverse course and grant a second emergency authorization for the antimalarial drug hydroxychloroquine to treat covid-19, the disease caused by the coronavirus.
Navarro, armed with a controversial new study that he says shows the drug’s effectiveness, is being cheered on by President Donald Trump, who has long touted the drug as a “game changer” and even used himself as a possible preventive measure. Trump praised the study on Twitter earlier this week, urging the FDA to “Act Now.” The campaign also has been promoted by Rudolph W. Giuliani, the president’s lawyer, and Laura Ingraham’s show on Fox News.
Navarro says his goal is simple: At a time when the virus is surging in many parts of the country, there are 60 million millions of doses of hydroxychloroquine in the Strategic National Stockpile that can’t be distributed unless the FDA issues an emergency authorization. He asserted the Henry Ford study shows the drug works when used as an early treatment and said the FDA should take action “within days, not weeks or months” so he could send the shipments.
Trump has told aides that he sees the Detroit study as “vindication” of his position and wants the drug sent to hospitals across the country, in the words of another senior administration official who spoke on the condition of anonymity to discuss internal deliberations. A number of Trump political aides, along with the Republican National Committee and campaign officials, have also promoted the Detroit study.
Navarro said if the Detroit data is backed up by subsequent studies, “there is blood on the media’s hands” for sowing doubts about the drug.
(c) 2020, The Washington Post · Laurie McGinley, Josh Dawsey