U.S. President Donald Trump on Tuesday defended his use of hydroxychloroquine, an anti-malaria drug, as a preventative measure against the coronavirus, or COVID-19, despite warnings that it can cause heart problems.
“I think it gives you an additional level of safety,” Trump told reporters after attending an event with Republican lawmakers on Capitol Hill. “But you can ask many doctors who are in favor of it. Many frontline workers won’t go there unless they have the hydroxy.”
“This is an individual decision to make,” he added. “But it’s had a great reputation and if it was somebody else other than me people would say, ‘Gee isn’t that smart.'”
Trump told reporters on Monday that he has taken hydroxychloroquine, which he has touted as a potential treatment for the coronavirus, on a daily basis.
“A couple of weeks ago, I started taking it,” he said. “All I can tell you is, so far I seem to be OK.”
White House physician Sean Conley, in a memo released hours after Trump made the declaration, said that he and Trump “concluded the potential benefit from treatment outweighed the relative risks” after their “numerous” discussions regarding the evidence for and against the use of hydroxychloroquine.
“In consultation with our inter-agency partners and subject matter experts around the country, I continued to monitor the myriad studies investigating potential COVID-19 therapies, and I anticipate employing the same shared medical decision making based on the evidence at hand in the future,” Conley said.
The assessment was at odds with studies from the medical community, which have highlighted the drug’s unproven efficacy and known potential side effects.
The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) warned in late April against the use of hydroxychloroquine or…