- President Donald Trump said for the first time publicly on Monday that he has been taking the antimalarial drug hydroxychloroquine “every day” for a week and a half.
- Researchers are studying whether hydroxychloroquine can treat people with the coronavirus or prevent them from catching it in the first place.
- Trump had been pushing hard for the drug during the outset of the coronavirus crisis.
- The drug’s benefits have been questioned by experts, and the FDA has cautioned against taking it until trials show it to be safe.
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President Donald Trump said for the first time Monday that he has been regularly taking the antimalarial drug hydroxychloroquine, which is being studied to treat and prevent the coronavirus.
During a Q&A with reporters, Trump said he has taken a hydroxychloroquine pill “every day” for a week and a half.
“I take it,” he said. “I would have told you that three, four days ago, but we never had a chance because you never asked me the question.”
The president added that he asked the White House doctor about the drug, who then administered him hydroxychloroquine.
Trump said every COVID-19 test he has taken has shown up negative but added that he takes the drug because he hears “very good things.”
Asked what evidence there is that hydroxychloroquine has a preventative impact, Trump says, "Here's my evidence: I get a lot of positive calls about it."
— Daniel Dale (@ddale8) May 18, 2020
“I was just waiting to see your eyes light up when I said this, when I announced this,” Trump added.
The Food and Drug Administration has warned against using hydroxychloroquine “outside of the hospital setting or a clinical trial due to risk of heart rhythm problems.” The National Institutes of Health has also advised that doctors use caution when prescribing it.
Trump countered the evidence against the drug’s dangers by touting anecdotal evidence.
“Here we go – you ready?” Trump said. “Here’s my evidence: I get a lot of positive calls about it. The only negative I’ve heard was the study where they gave it – was it the VA? – with people that aren’t big Trump fans.”
He added: “But I get a lot of tremendously positive news on the hydroxy. And I say … what do you have to lose?”
Trump ended the Q&A after speaking about taking the antimalarial drug in addition to zinc. He cited a letter he received from a doctor in Westchester, New York, as evidence for the combination’s efficacy.