President Donald Trump has touted the drug hydroxycholoroquine, a drug indicated to treat malaria and arthritis, as a possible treatment for the novel coronavirus — a premature claim, since the drug also has a number of dangerous side effects and could be toxic for patients with heart problems.
But as MSNBC’s Chris Hayes noted on Monday, Trump’s remarks have ultimately made it harder for doctors to even verify whether hydroxycholoroquine is an effective treatment for COVID-19 — because some health care institutions have begun hoarding the drug and triggering shortages for medical scientists who are looking to test its efficacy:
The president touting hydroxychloroquine has, predictably, triggered hoarding of the drug to the point that even one hospital I know attempting to administer it as part of a trial is having a hard time getting its hands on the drug.
— Chris Hayes (@chrislhayes) March 23, 2020
Doctors currently have no clinically proven therapeutic treatment for COVID-19, and a vaccine could still be more than a year from entering public use.