The Frontier reports from our neighbors to the south and east:
The Oklahoma Attorney General’s Office has been tasked with attempting to return a $2 million stockpile of a malaria drug once touted by former President Donald Trump as a way to treat the coronavirus.
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.”
But as it turns out, Oklahoma’s stockpile of hydroxychloroquine snapped up just days after now ex-President Donald Trump began touting the drug as a treatment or even preventative measure for COVID-19 is very much useless to the Sooner State. Those “alternate uses” don’t seem to have materialized, at least not in sufficient quantity to justify the purchase. And although a number of states obtained the drug from donations, Oklahoma paid hard cash for their stockpile:
The state purchased the hydroxychloroquine stockpile in early April, days after Trump began to tout it as a treatment. While many acknowledged at the time that reports of the drug’s effectiveness were purely anecdotal, Trump said at a briefing in March, “What do we have to lose? I feel very good about it.”
Health officials nationwide immediately began to caution people against using the drug, throwing water on the idea that it could cure a coronavirus infection and cautioning that it could have serious side effects, including irregular heart rhythms and even the possibility of death. The drug was ultimately discredited as a treatment option and the National Institute of Health released a report in November that the drug had “no clinical benefit to hospitalized patients.”
Only two states, Oklahoma and Utah, paid cash for hydroxychloroquine. In Utah, the purchase became controversial after they paid an above-market premium for the drug when they likely could have obtained it for free. There is a market for this drug, of course, just not for treating the COVID-19 pandemic. And supply certainly isn’t a problem today with millions of donated doses sitting on shelves.
It’s not the biggest monetary loss attributable to Trump’s free-wheeling nationally televised fantasies, but it’s a hard one to excuse. States, after all, have lots of people on the payroll who are supposed to know better. And it looks like Gov. Kevin Stitt ignored them.
On the upside, the days of taking medical advice from Donald Trump are over.