Hydroxychloroquine no longer authorised by FDA to treat Covid-19

Hydroxychloroquine has received a lot of attention as a possible treatment for Covid-19, particularly due to Donald Trump promoting it and using it.

But the US Food and Drug Administration has revoked approval for its use for Covid.

Financial Times: US regulator ends emergency use of hydroxychloroquine for virus

The US regulator has revoked its emergency approval for hydroxychloroquine, an antimalarial drug that was lauded by US president Donald Trump and has been used to treat Covid-19 patients across the world.

Shortly after the pandemic engulfed the US, Mr Trump hailed hydroxychloroquine as a “game-changer” and played down its risks, saying at a press conference: “What do you have to lose?”

Later, he said he had taken the drug himself, trying it as a potential preventive measure to stop him developing Covid-19 after several White House officials had contracted the infection.

The Food and Drug Administration said new data from trials showed the drug did not improve the condition of patients or have an antiviral effect, so the benefits did not outweigh the risks.

Denise Hinton, chief scientist of the FDA, said that hydroxychloroquine and chloroquine, a similar drug, were no longer authorised to treat Covid-19 patients, as of Monday.

“The FDA always underpins its decision-making with the most trustworthy, high-quality, up-to-date evidence available. We will continue to examine all of the emergency use authorizations the FDA has issued and make changes, as appropriate, based on emerging evidence,” she said in a statement.

In a letter to the director of medical countermeasures at another branch of the health department, she wrote that earlier observations that it decreased the shedding of the virus had not been consistently replicated — and recent data from a randomised clinical trial showed no difference between hydroxychloroquine and the “standard of care”: drugs usually used to treat hospitalised patients, such as those administered in intensive care.

It always seemed a long shot that hydroxychloroquine may be some sort of miracle treatment or cure. It may still be found to have some benefits, but I think that rushing into using unproven drug treatments is fairly silly and risky. Even drugs that work well usually have adverse side effects.

Meanwhile the worldwide number of Covid cases continues to increase, and while the death rate seems to have slowed total official deaths are now at 438,000 and likely to be under-reported.

And in the US relaxing lockdowns is still a contentious issue as case numbers surge in some states. See:

And while Trump Campaign Touts 1 Million Ticket Requests for Tulsa Rally the number of cases is also increasing there – see https://coronavirus.health.ok.gov/

Leave a comment


  1. duperez

     /  16th June 2020

    “People are saying up to 3 million are trying to get tickets for the Tulsa rally.”

    People are saying that authorities are seeking a more suitable site for Trump’s inauguration because the Mall in Washington won’t be spacious enough for the 2 million+ who’ll turn up on January 20th.

    They’ll construct sets, replicas of the Capitol on the new site so it looks the same as the historical inaugurations. I’ve heard they’re redeploying 8,000 workers from The Wall construction for that job. 🙂

    • Gezza

       /  16th June 2020

      Have you got a link for that last para?

      • duperez

         /  16th June 2020

        It’s straight out of the Trump playbook – have a look in your copy, you’ll find it. The second paragraph isn’t in his book its straight out of his head. 🙂

        • Gezza

           /  16th June 2020

          So, is this your convoluted way of saying you were blithering & making shit up?

          • duperez

             /  17th June 2020

            Yeah, making things up – he’ll have at least 4 million at the big January shindig. It’ll be the biggerest hugest crowd in US history.

            The funny thing is he’ll swear this: “I do solemnly swear that I will faithfully execute the office of President of the United States, and will to the best of my ability, preserve, protect and defend the Constitution of the United States except for the hoax parts.”

            On a Bible no less, so he’ll be in familiar territory.😊

  2. Duker

     /  16th June 2020

    “Hydroxychloroquine has received a lot of attention as a possible treatment for Covid-19, particularly due to Donald Trump promoting it and using it.”

    Thats completely wrong. Trump was taking it as a preventer, not as a treatment for those who are infected.
    Its a common mistake, but changes everything when the true context is given.

    I’d be more worried about his obvious frailties at the West Point rally , couldnt even lift a small glass to his mouth to sip some water , needed the freehand to push the glass/forearm further up.

    • Be fair, Duker, he has tiny hands as you can see 😀

    • Not forgetting rampgate.

      Trump has habitually attacked others for being “sleepy” and “slow” and “little;” and cruelly mimicked disabled journalist Serge Kovaleski in order to mock him, so I have no qualms in clapping back.

      And there’s always a tweet …

      • I must admit that I am not keen on walking down steep slopes with no handrail; the though of breaking into an undignified run is unappealing

        His mockery of Obama sounds like jealousy, though; I bet he wishes that he could run down like that and not go arse over elbow.

  3. Alan Wilkinson

     /  16th June 2020

    Seems a sensible decision awaiting better evidence now. Doesn’t actually affect much as doctors can still prescribe it.

    Seems to me the major problem is that the differences in susceptibility to the virus are huge and currently not understood. That makes treatment difficult and results uninterpretable. Until we have better science we are dependent on guesswork.

  4. Pink David

     /  16th June 2020

    ” It may still be found to have some benefits, but I think that rushing into using unproven drug treatments is fairly silly and risky.”

    Risky? Unproven? It’s been around 60 odd years and is well understood. The risk seems very low, and it’s extremely cheap.

    Contrast this with the volumes that have been written about a Covid vaccine being rushed into production in 18 months. That has never been achieved before and carries a much higher risk profile than using a very well established, and cheap, drug with little risk.

    • Duker

       /  16th June 2020

      Does it even work for the way Trump is taking it , as preventer ?

      • Pink David

         /  16th June 2020

        It’s not a ‘preventer’ as such, but the theory is it is effective at the earliest stage of infection, reducing the overall impact of the virus. There is a reasonable amount of evidence supporting that and the risk of taking it is very low. Given it’s very hard to know when someone is infected, prophylactic consumption could be worthwhile.

        Again, this is a well understood drug, it’s cheap.


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