President Donald Trump’s praise of medications that could be tested on the coronavirus has led to a number of unintended consequences.
Trump has repeatedly hyped chloroquine, a malaria drug, and remdesivir, an anti-viral medication, at news briefings on the coronavirus.
Drugmaker Gilead was forced to abruptly shut down its emergency access program for remdesivir after being overwhelmed by demand following Trump’s comments, The New York Times reports.
The drug is being studied but there have not been any results. It was previously studied as a possible medication to treat Ebola but did not work well.
Gilead said demand had “flooded an emergency treatment access system that was set up for very limited access to investigational medicines and never intended for use in response to a pandemic.”
“By the time we get to the end of April, we should have a preliminary idea of the safety and efficacy of this medicine against coronavirus,” said Gilead CEO Daniel O’Day.
Chloroquine hype leads to death:
An Arizona couple heard the president tout chloroquine and grabbed a fish tank cleaner containing the chemical to "prevent the coronavirus" because "we were afraid of getting sick.” The drug ended up killing the man, who was in his 60s, his wife told NBC News.
"I started vomiting," she said. "My husband started developing respiratory problems and wanted to hold my hand… I was having a hard time talking, falling down."
The woman blamed Trump for the ordeal.
"Trump kept saying it was basically pretty much a cure," she said. "Oh my God. Don't take anything. Don't believe anything. Don't believe anything that the President says and his people...call your doctor."
Doctors warn against unproven treatments:
"Here is the thing about those drugs: There is may and actually does. These may be promising. So we are trying to make them as available as possible to people across the country. We need to verify through studies that they actually work," Surgeon General Jerome Adams told Fox News. "It's not practical to think we are going to treat our way out of this problem with new drugs or with ventilators or with supplies. We need to lower demand. We need more people talking about staying at home."