National Institutes of Health via Wikimedia Commons

President Donald Trump’s media and partisan critics were quick to pile on when the President suggested at a press conference last Thursday that an inexpensive and widely available drug – first approved for the treatment of Malaria and some forms of arthritis in 1949 – might prove useful in treating those infected by the Coronavirus or, as we are now supposed to call it, Covid-19. In doing so they were quick to point out that his own experts, Dr. Anthony Fauci and FDA Commissioner Stephan Hahn seemed to disagree with him.

But did they? When asked by a Fox News reporter if the drug, chloroquine, could prevent one from infection, Fauci responded bluntly. “The answer is no,“ he said, “And the evidence … is anecdotal evidence, so as the commissioner of FDA and the President mentioned yesterday, we’re trying to strike a balance between making something with a potential of an effect to the American people available, at the same time we do it under the auspices of a protocol that would give us information to determine if it’s truly safe and truly effective, but the information that you’re referring to specifically is anecdotal; it was not done in a controlled clinical trial, so you really can’t make any.”


The media and Trump’s critics, excited by the possibility they could claim the President wrongly cited Fauci. But the President never claimed either 1) that he could be sure the drug would work and 2) certainly didn’t claim it would work as a vaccine. What he did say was that other nations are prescribing it for those who have contracted the virus because it seems to shorten their hospital stays and ameliorate the worst symptoms. If that’s true, making it widely available could potentially lessen the expected over-crowding of existing medical facilities, keep some who contract the virus out of the hospital and hasten their recovery. That would be, as the President suggested, “very good news.”

But the New York Times, among others, used Fauci’s comments to attack Trump in a series of news reports. One headline “Trump’s Embrace of Unproven Drugs to Treat Coronavirus Defies Science.” This in spite of the fact that numerous countries that are dispensing the drug now are reporting precisely the reports that the president referred to in his remarks. Those countries include China, Australia, Norway, Britain, South Korea and Belgium.

What Fauci and Hahn were saying was that this country insists on long and expensive testing before any drug is made available to the public or allowed to be prescribed for what are known as “off label” uses. Thus, while other countries can move forward with a promising treatment that has been proven safe for other uses, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration – while promising to speed things up or, as the President is demanding, “cut the red tape,” – may well continue to insist on extensive testing and new trials before approving its use to alleviate the suffering of infected American. Typically such tests cost millions and can take months or years to complete which is why treatment for other conditions available elsewhere are often denied to Americans.

Sometimes these requirements make sense … and sometimes they do not. This is one of those times. If the pandemic is a global pandemic then Americans should have access to the same treatment available elsewhere … The New York Times and the Food and Drug Administration’s bureaucrats notwithstanding.

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David A Keene

David Keene has been at the center of conservative politics for decades. He is a former Chairman of the Young Americans for Freedom and the American Conservative Union and has served as the elected President of the National Rifle Association. He worked as a campaign consultant, lobbyist and commentator. His writing has appeared in Human Events, National Review and many other conservative publications and remains Editor at Large for The Washington Times after more than four years as the paper’s Opinion Editor.

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Sirdirkfan
Sirdirkfan
2 years ago

What’s with Fauci and his morbid reluctance to allow us to Try – that HydroxyChloroquine and pak to make up the cocktail is working 100% as has been said.
Why would Daniel Dae Kim (of Hawaii Five O) who came down with the Wuhan Virus one day and lambasted Trump for not allowing him to Try the drug, did get the cocktail and the day after his tirade against Trump he was praising HCQ b/c he is on the road to recovery?
What Daniel has done is make Fauci out to be a fraud which the man probably isn’t after all but he is putting up an obstruction and that is unacceptable – I mean just how far does he think he’s supposed to go to show allegiance to Obama and not American Citizens who’re represented by Trump anyway ! – His Trump Derangement Syndrome has no place.
There’s something weird about Fauci, of course he’s an Obama holdover but REALLY it’s time for him to put MEDICINE first or else get off the platform and let Dr. Birx in to lead that team who is also an Obama holdover but has been putting her medicine for America First.

gene smith
gene smith
2 years ago
Reply to  Sirdirkfan

You are being just a bit ( Large ) too hard on the good Doctor.
He is a perfectionist as you would certainly prefer any Doctor operating on YOU to be….accurate, precise and certain of his decision.
So, and with that said, our President was doing his “Non-Doctor” best to give the folks some good news…and he did it,,
all the while expressing caution and reservations….Give Pres. Trump a break and lighten up just a bit. Is it really so impossible for anyone to wonder EXACTLY how they might deal with this nightmare if it were theirs to do?

Wylie123
Wylie123
2 years ago
Reply to  gene smith

Except in this case there is no EXACT until so many have contracted it or have died from it which forms a pattern. Then the tests rules from before were so restrictive we could have lost millions. Fauci appears to have been strictly adhering to those rules and maybe a bit too cautious.

Especially in this case where the virus is an unknown. He seems to have been adverse to some risk.

Carol Peterson
2 years ago
Reply to  Wylie123

I agree with your perspective, Wylie! It’s proven to be a success — already tested in other places, evidently with recovered patients as proof that it works. So what’s the harm? Or perhaps give the patient the choice, rather than just saying no you can’t because the five year testing period isn’t finished!! As for the stern Fauci, perhaps he could at the very least, say the same thing in a way that it doesn’t appear to be in total conflict with what President! Trump is saying.

Johne Simpson
Johne Simpson
2 years ago
Reply to  Sirdirkfan

Take the drug without the test and die..youre family will scream so loud and angry thete were no tests done to prove the drug was safe…am I right????

Josephine Lara
Josephine Lara
2 years ago
Reply to  Sirdirkfan

GUESS YOU DID NOT READ
WHERE HE IS A PART OF THE SWAMP AND JUST LOVES KILLERY! TAKE A GOOD LOOK AT SOME PICTURES HE HAS HAS TAKEN STANDING BEHIND OUR PRES. PURE HATRED! KNOW ITS OUT, LOVE LETTERS SENT THREW HER SHIELDS. AND HEARD HE WAS ASKED TO LEAVE!

Rhina
2 years ago

The fact that they allowed a terrorist be President Obama is an illegal alien. Democrats do not work for the American people just like the media. They help illegal aliens why else they keep making sure our country looks like a third world county. They will never stop they have an agenda. We already be dead if Hillary had won. Here in California they have illegal aliens working as public servants. American citizens are invisible here they do not even allow us to vote. California is huge we used to have 5thousand places to vote now only 950 poll places. There is not a day we are not being attacked. It is digusting and very disturbing.

Johne Simpson
Johne Simpson
2 years ago
Reply to  Rhina

Very disturbing and so very true..im in the IE and were getting overrun also

Maril
Maril
2 years ago

This was not a contradiction. These drugs are for treatment as Trump said. This is NOT for prevention as Dr Fauci said. Fake news article. Geez