Remember hydroxychloroquine, the drug that some were pushing as a possible way to prevent Covid-19? Well, the World Health Organization (WHO) is now saying fugget about it.
The BMJ has published a “living WHO guideline on drugs to prevent covid-19,” and on it is the statement, “We recommend against administering hydroxychloroquine to prevent Covid-19.” This is based on a review of available evidence, mainly six randomized controlled trials involving over 6,000 participants, by the WHO Guideline Development Group (GDG) panel of international experts. There was no meaningful difference in rates of Covid-19 infection diagnoses, hospitalizations, and death between people who had taken hydroxychloroquine and those who had not. At the same time, taking hydroxychloroquine brought the risk of adverse effects like heart rhythm problems, blood and lymph system disorders, kidney injuries, and liver problems from the medication typically used against malaria. It’s called a “living” guideline because the WHO plans on adding recommendations about other drugs being considered to prevent Covid-19.
That means people and states like Oklahoma that purchased hydroxychloroquine after then-U.S. President and now Mara-A-Lago resident Donald Trump touted the medication are now stuck with stockpiles of this stuff. That is unless the U.S. is overrun by malaria-carrying mosquitoes anytime soon. And take a wild guess as to who ultimately has had to pay for these stockpiles that may go unused and expire? If you live in a state like Oklahoma, go to the bathroom, look in the mirror, and point at yourself. Yes, that’s right, taxpayers had to pay for the stuff.
That’s why the Oklahoma attorney general’s office is apparently attempting to negotiate a return of 1.2 million hydroxychloroquine pills that the state purchased in April last year from FFF Enterprises for around $2 million, according to Sean Murphy reporting for the AP. Jimmy Kimmel recently parodied their situation with an Oklahoma “travel” commercial:
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Yeah, trying to get a refund of around $2 million is not exactly as easy as getting your money back for the fake butt underwear that you bought online. The supplier can always say, “umm, but you bought it, and we can’t re-sell it. Because no one freaking wants that much hydroxychloroquine now.”
Governor Kevin Stitt (R) reportedly defended the purchase last year by saying, “I was being proactive to try and protect Oklahomans.” Protect Oklahomans? Based on what evidence? At no point were real public health experts in the U.S. saying “stockpile hydroxychloroquine.”
Proactive wasn’t exactly the theme of an article written on January 18, 2021, by Carmen Forman for The Oklahoman entitled, “As coronavirus surges in Oklahoma, Gov. Kevin Stitt mum on next steps.” In the article, Forman mentioned that “Oklahoma has been the worst state for test positivity and ranked fourth-highest for new Covid-19 cases per capita.” She also wrote that “asked what, if any, new steps Stitt is considering to reduce the spread of COVID-19 in Oklahoma, his office did not give specifics and leaned on the governor’s oft-used mantra of ‘personal responsibility.’” Well, looks like Oklahoma state residents have been personally responsible for paying for all those doses of unused hydroxychloroquine.
One of the biggest tragedies of 2020 and 2021 has been political leaders not heeding the advice of real scientific and public health experts. While public health experts in the U.S. were pushing for similar policies and interventions that successfully controlled the spread of the virus in countries like South Korea, Taiwan, and New Zealand, political leaders like Trump and others didn’t seem to be listening. It appeared, instead, that they were listening to the voices pushing for the use of hydroxychloroquine. Some of these voices may have actually been people trying to sell hydroxychloroquine. After all, when do you get a chance to sell to taxpayers over one million doses of an anti-malarial medication in the U.S.?