'We need answers': VA has given hydroxychloroquine to 1,300 vets with COVID-19 amid troubling studies

\'We need answers\': VA has given hydroxychloroquine to 1,300 vets with COVID-19 amid troubling studies  

WASHINGTON - Democrats are raising concerns over the Department of Veterans Affairs using hydroxychloroquine to treat veterans diagnosed with COVID-19, a path of treatment that has been shown to increase mortality in some patients.

The VA, in response to questions from Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y., said it had used the drug on about 1,300 of the 10,000 veterans who they are treating for the coronavirus and said the administration "will continue to do so."

"We need to know what the basis was for using this drug against the consensus of science, which called into question its effectiveness in treating COVID-19," Schumer said in a statement Friday. "We also need to know who is authorizing these new trials, what facilities are participating and what families are being told."

The VA purchased a bulk order of hydroxychloroquine over the last few months totaling more than 6.3 million tablets of the drug. Schumer wrote earlier this month to VA Secretary Robert Wilkie, questioning to the bulk order, the department's use of the drug and its impacts on veterans.

Wilkie responded by defending the department's use of the drug to treat patients infected with coronavirus, despite a number of studies and the Food and Drug Administration's warning that the drug hasn't been proven to work and has potentially deadly side effects.

More: Trump says he's taking hydroxychloroquine, the drug he touted as coronavirus treatment, despite FDA warnings

More: Coronavirus patients who took hydroxychloroquine had higher risk of death, study shows

Wilkie, in a letter to Schumer, noted that the FDA authorized physicians to use the drug for patients and the VA is following the guidance from the FDA and is aware of the potential side effects, especially for those with preexisting conditions or who take the drug in combination with others.

"There is much misinformation in the national media about VA's use of this pharmaceutical," Wilkie said in his letter. "The immediate concern is that veterans are being discouraged from seeking life-saving treatment at the VA as the result of false implications that VA is recklessly experimenting on veterans with this drug."

He said the drug was being prescribed in "certain circumstances" and is largely being used "at the final stages of a veteran's life in the hope that it has some positive effect." Wilkie added that the department's primary use of the drug, which is used to treat or prevent malaria as well as autoimmune conditions such as lupus and rheumatoid arthritis, has not been to treat COVID-19 patients.

The VA also told the New York Democrat that the department is planning several studies to examine the effectiveness of the drug, including one scheduled for review this month.

"This drug may be useless or even harmful for COVID-19 patients, but the VA continues to administer it to hundreds of vets," Schumer said on Twitter. "Why are we just learning this? We need answers NOW!"

More: Hydroxychloroquine and coronavirus: Everything to know about the drug Trump says he's taking

More: COVID-19 treatment: FDA says hydroxychloroquine touted by Trump is not safe or effective

President Donald Trump said earlier this week that he was taking hydroxychloroquine daily for about a week and a half as an added measure to avoid getting the coronavirus, a revelation that stunned health experts.

The president had touted the drug for weeks, frequently discussing anecdotal evidence of its impact from the podium during daily White House briefings. His administration stockpiled 29 million doses of the drug earlier in the pandemic.

Two recent observational studies of coronavirus patients suggested the drug has little impact in treating the disease. The studies, while not the same as a clinical trial, suggested that the drug did not significantly reduce complications from the virus or death.

Contributing: Courtney Subramanian and John Fritze

More: Trump says he will finish his hydroxychloroquine regimen 'in a day or two'

This article originally appeared on USA TODAY: Coronavirus: Government gave hydroxychloroquine to 1,300 veterans


More Related News

Lancet says concerned about validity of widely cited hydroxychloroquine study
Lancet says concerned about validity of widely cited hydroxychloroquine study
  • US
  • 2020-06-02 20:05:07Z

The Lancet medical journal said on Tuesday "serious scientific questions" had been brought to its attention about the validity of the data behind a widely cited and already corrected study on the dangers of the use of the anti-malarial drug hydroxychloroquine in hospitalized patients with COVID-19. The Lancet study published on May 22 found that the anti-malarial drug hydroxychloroquine, which U.S. President Donald Trump took and has urged others to use, was tied to an increased risk of death in hospitalized COVID-19 patients. The article, called "Hydroxychloroquine or chloroquine with or without a macrolide for treatment of COVID-19: a multinational registry analysis," was an...

Pelosi says legislation coming soon in response to Minneapolis George Floyd killing
Pelosi says legislation coming soon in response to Minneapolis George Floyd killing
  • US
  • 2020-06-02 17:19:45Z

U.S. House of Representatives Speaker Nancy Pelosi on Tuesday promised legislation on racial profiling and other issues raised by the police killing of George Floyd, while other lawmakers warned against using troops to quell protests sweeping across the United States. House Democrats are mulling proposals on a number of topics. Pelosi and other Democrats attacked President Donald Trump's handling of protests after teargas and rubber bullets were used to clear protesters from outside the White House, just before he marched through the area and posed at a church with a Bible.

Senate Democrats
Senate Democrats' Mindless 'Report' on the Judiciary

NRPLUS MEMBER ARTICLE T hree months ago, Senator Chuck Schumer stood outside the Supreme Court building and warned Justices Gorsuch and Kavanaugh that they would "pay the price" and would "not know what hit" them if they upheld a Louisiana law requiring abortion clinics to have admitting privileges at a local hospital. Last week, that same Chuck Schumer and two other Democratic senators released a 54-page broadside against their Republican colleagues titled "Captured Courts: The GOP's Big Money Assault on the Constitution, Our Independent Judiciary, and the Rule of Law."If Senator Schumer is concerned about the integrity of the Constitution and the independence of the judiciary,...

U.S. sends Brazil 2 million doses of hydroxychloroquine, drug touted by Trump
U.S. sends Brazil 2 million doses of hydroxychloroquine, drug touted by Trump

The United States has supplied Brazil with 2 million doses of hydroxychloroquine for use against the coronavirus, the two governments said on Sunday, despite medical warnings about risks associated with the anti-malaria drug. The White House released a joint announcement on the drug, whose use has been touted both by U.S. President Donald Trump and Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro, just days after the World Health Organization suspended testing it in COVID-19 patients because of safety concerns.

McConnell and Pelosi
McConnell and Pelosi's next battle: How to help the 40 million unemployed

The divide over jobless benefits will dominate the fight over a new coronavirus aid package.

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked with *

Cancel reply


Top News: Latin America