The US now has more hydroxychloroquine than it knows what to do with following a series of studies that concluded the drug is an ineffective and potentially dangerous treatment for COVID-19. The federal government, which started stockpiling the drug in March, now has 63 million surplus doses of the drug, donated by companies including Novartis, and another 2 million doses of chloroquine, the New York Times reports. Some 31 million doses from the Strategic National Stockpile were distributed before the FDA withdrew its emergency authorization of the drug to treat the coronavirus. President Trump championed the drug for months, hailing it as a possible “game-changer” and announcing that he was taking it himself.
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“Nationally, we put a great emphasis on one drug, hydroxychloroquine,” David Holtgrave, the dean of the School of Public Health at the University at Albany, tells CNN. “I worry that history will judge this as having over-invested in one treatment pathway as opposed to looking more broadly at a larger number of treatment candidates,” says Holtgrave, co-author of a hydroxychloroquine study. Dr. Rick Bright, the official who says he was ousted for opposing the administration’s push to use hydroxychloroquine, tweeted Monday that the drugs, some of which came from factories overseas that had not been certified by the FDA, “should never have been brought into our country and should be destroyed.” (Read more hydroxychloroquine stories.)