Wednesday, April 08, 2020


So it isn't just that President Trump is hyping hydroxychloroquine as a miracle cure for covid-19, thus encouraging random doctors to prescribe it. It's also that large quantities of the drug are being diverted to Trump allies, while people who really need it for legitimate reasons are struggling to get it.

The Texas Tribune reports:
More than two dozen Texas City nursing home residents who have tested positive for the new coronavirus are being treated with hydroxychloroquine....

The doctor who prescribed it to 27 residents of The Resort at Texas City was Robin Armstrong, the nursing home’s medical director and a prominent GOP activist who serves as a surrogate for the Trump campaign....

State Sen. Bryan Hughes, R-Mineola, said the treatment that the nursing home patients are receiving comes from a donation of 1 million hydroxychloroquine sulfate tablets that he recently helped secure for Texas from Amneal Pharmaceuticals. The New Jersey-based company made the donation directly to the state.
That's not the only hydroxychloroquine donation Anneal has made recently. There's also this:
Rep. Doug Collins (R-Ga.) today announced Amneal Pharmaceuticals, Inc., one of the largest U.S.-based generics manufacturers, has donated 200,000 doses of hydroxychloroquine sulfate to Georgia’s Department of Public Health for potential use in treating hospitalized COVID—19 patients.
Collins, of course, was one of Trump's most tireless defenders during impeachment, and is now running for Kelly Loeffler's seat in the U.S. Senate.

These hydroxychloroquine donations come at a time when there are ongoing shortages of the drug for lupus and rheumatoid arthritis patients -- some of whom might need to be hospitalized for symptom flareups if they can't get the drug, which has been proven effective for their conditions.
When Elaine MacKenzie hears President Trump talk about how a particular drug might be a "game-changer" for people with coronavirus, it's more than just news to her -- it's personal.

Her doctor wants her to take hydroxychloroquine for her rheumatoid arthritis....

MacKenzie, 58, went to several pharmacies near her New Canaan, Connecticut, home, and found they they were all out.

Her joints ache, and some days she even has trouble walking, which makes it hard to cook and care for her 91-year old mother, her husband, and their four children who live at home.

"Trying to do all the work I've been trying to do keeping everyone healthy exacerbates the swelling and pain. It becomes pretty daunting," said MacKenzie, who lives in New Canaan, Connecticut....

When lupus patients who regularly take hydroxychloroquine stop taking it, they often develop withdrawal symptoms and flare-ups that require hospitalization.... That spike could come at a time when hospitals beds are already filled with Covid-19 patients.
Does this drug work for covid-19? We still don't know.

But eventually we'll have drugs that are effective. Eventually there'll be a vaccine. And I hope we all realize that, at least in the early stages, any problems with availability of these treatments or the vaccine will be resolved in favor of Trump and his allies, as long as he's president.

Let's say an effective treatment is developed before Election Day, but production of the necessary drugs can't be fully ramped up for a while. The drugs won't go where they're most needed. They'll go where Trump wants them to go. If New York is still the epicenter of the crisis, they won't come here -- Trump knows he won't get New York's electoral votes.

The same with the vaccine. We won't have one until 2021, in all likelihood. So an important question when we vote in 2020 is: Who do you want deciding how the vaccine is distributed? Which president will get the first doses to the people who should have them first?

If Trump is still president, those first doses will go to his family, his family's friends, his Mar-a-Lago friends, Tom Brady, Robert Kraft... Front-line healthcare workers and other medically at-risk people will struggle to get the vaccine, especially if they live in the "wrong" states or metropolitan areas.

In a Biden presidency, these decisions will be made ethically and morally, in consultation with knowledgeable people, and they'll be carried out by people with expertise. In a Trump presidency, they'll be made based on favoritism and resentment, by the worst person on earth, and carried out by "acting" department heads and Jared Kushner.

Choose wisely.

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