COVID-19

Oklahoma wants to return $2 million in hydroxychloroquine it hoarded after Trump said it cured COVID

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The Oklahoma Attorney General’s Office is trying to return a $2 million stockpile of the malaria drug hydroxychloroquine that was falsely touted by former President Trump as an effective treatment for coronavirus, The Frontier reports.

“In April, Gov. Kevin Stitt, who ordered the hydroxychloroquine purchase, defended it by saying that while it may not be a useful treatment for the coronavirus, the drug had multiple other uses and ‘that money will not have gone to waste in any respect,'” The Frontier reports. “But nearly a year later the state is trying to offload the drug back to its original supplier, California-based FFF Enterprises, Inc, a private pharmaceutical wholesaler.”

Gov. Stitt was on the receiving end of criticism from people accusing him of using the purchase to curry favor with the Trump administration. But as The Frontier points out, Stitt defended the purchase by saying it was better to have the stockpile and not need it rather than to later learn the drug is effective against the virus and be without it.

“Every decision the Governor makes is with the health and lives of Oklahomans in mind, including purchasing hydroxychloroquine, securing PPE, and now distributing vaccines as quickly and efficiently as possible to combat this COVID crisis,” Stitt’s spokesperson told The Frontier.

Oklahoma purchased the stockpile in April just days after Trump touted it as a coronavirus treatment. The National Institute of Health released a report in November saying that the drug had “no clinical benefit to hospitalized patients.”

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