For the past few weeks, television doctor Mehmet Oz has been going on Fox News to aggressively promote treating people infected with COVID-19 with hydroxychloroquine, an anti-malarial drug that was singled out by President Donald Trump during his press briefings.
During an appearance on "Fox & Friends" Wednesday, however, Oz backed off his promotion of the drug and suggested more testing was needed to conclude whether it was effective in treating COVID-19.
"The fact of the matter is, we don't know," Oz said. "Thankfully, these medications are prescription only, so doctors are desperately awaiting the completion of the higher-quality randomized trials... we are better off waiting for the randomized trials Dr. Fauci has been asking for."
As Media Matters researcher Matt Gertz notes, this is an "astonishing turnaround" for Oz, who just days earlier was asking Fox News viewers to take part in a clinical trial of hydroxychloroquine in which they would be sent pills in the mail and asked to report how well they responded to it.
CNN's Oliver Darcy reports that Fox News in recent days has "all but stopped" mentioning hydroxychloroquine after promoting it as a treatment literally hundreds of times over the last month.
"The quite abandonment of hydroxychloroquine comes as studies indicate it is not an effective treatment against the coronavirus," Darcy reports. "A French study found last week that the drug does not help patients with the virus. And on Tuesday, a study of hundreds of patents at US Veterans Health Administration medical centers found that patients who took hydroxychloroquine were no less likely to need ventilation and had higher death rates than those who didn't take the drug."
Watch the video below.
Dr. Oz, on Fox & Friends, says the VA study on hydroxychloroquine shows that "we don't know" if it works and "we ar… https://t.co/1VLqTtQI6X— Matthew Gertz (@Matthew Gertz) 1587558182.0