Former Sons of Anarchy star Kristen Renton is slamming President Donald Trump's promotion of hydroxychloroquine, a malaria drug, as a potential treatment for the coronavirus. The drug, which has not been approved by the FDA but is currently being tested, is also used to treat a number of other diseases, such as lupus, rheumatoid arthritis, and other autoimmune diseases, though some are finding a shortage of supply amid the president's continued touting of it.
So while you are telling people to “try Hydroxychloroquine” (aka plaquenil) because it “may” help...people like myself, who need the drug daily to survive due to my lupus, can no longer obtain the drug because it’s “out of stock.” Now what am I suppose to do? https://t.co/PE20hrxivt— Kristen Renton (@KristenRenton) April 5, 2020
In her Sunday post, Renton, who has been diagnosed with lupus, expressed the fears of many that hydroxychloroquine is becoming increasingly difficult to obtain for those who require it for autoimmune diseases or other medical conditions. Just last week, the FDA added both hydroxychloroquine and chloroquine to its shortages list "due to a significant surge in demand," according to The Hill. The shortage comes amid the president's continued praise of the drugs in his daily briefings.
"What do you have to lose? Take it," the president said Saturday in the clip retweeted by Renton. "I really think they should take it. But it's their choice. And it's their doctor's choice or the doctors in the hospital. But hydroxychloroquine. Try it, if you'd like."
Just a day later, during his Sunday briefing, Trump again touted the drug, stating that "they say taking it before the fact is good...I'm not acting as a doctor. I'm saying do what you want...It can help them but it's not going to hurt them."
During that same briefing, the president announced that the United States had begun stockpiling the drug.
"And another thing we have bought a tremendous amount of is hydroxychloroquine," he said, according to Slate. "We have stockpiled 29 million pills of the hydroxychloroquine. 29 million. A lot of drugstores have them, by prescription. And they're not expensive."
At this time, however, there is no definitive evidence suggesting that hydroxychloroquine could be used to treat COVID-19, and Dr. Anthony Fauci, the director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases and a member of the White House Coronavirus Task Force, has warned that there is no evidence to support the use of hydroxychloroquine.
"In terms of science, I don't think we can definitively say it works," he told CBS' Face the Nation. "The data are really just at best suggestive. There have been cases that show there may be an effect and there are others to show there's no effect."