Donald Trump is back on his hydroxychloroquine soapbox once more, except this time he revealed he has been taking the unproven drug.
“A couple of weeks ago, I started taking it,” Trump said on Monday, saying that he’s been taking the antimalarial drug every day for a week and a half after consulting with the White House doctor, CNN reports.
Trump has come under criticism before for promoting the use of hydroxychloroquine to battle the coronavirus, despite the cautioning of medical experts and even the U.S. Food and Drug Administration, which has been questioning its effectiveness while warning of the possible dangerous side effects.
The side effects can include, as one study has shown, heart problems.
The study published last week by the Journal of the American Medical Association shows that not only does hydroxychloroquine not work against the novel coronavirus, but those who took the drug with the antibiotic azithromycin were more than twice as likely to suffer cardiac arrest, as CNN notes in a separate report.
The President acknowledged that he had not been exposed to the virus, but said he had been receiving letters from frontline workers who claimed that they were taking it preventatively.
He stopped short of saying that the White House doctor recommended the drug, telling reporters, “I asked him what do you think, he said, ‘Well if you’d like it.’ “
Navy Commander Sean Conley, Trump’s doctor, confirmed in a memo on Monday that the President, who has remained symptom-free, had taken several coronavirus tests, which all came back negative.
“After numerous discussions, he and I had regarding the evidence for and against the use of hydroxychloroquine, we concluded the potential benefit from treatment outweighed the relative risks,” Conley wrote in the memo.
“You’re not going to to get sick and die,” Trump insisted, although he acknowledged he doesn’t know if the drug works.
However, not everyone, including House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA), is thrilled at this turn of events. While speaking to CNN’s Anderson Cooper, Pelosi brought up the issues with the drug’s unproven status.
“I would rather he not be taking something that has not been approved by the scientists, especially in his age group and in his, shall we say, weight group, that is…morbidly obese, they say. So I think it’s not a good idea,” Pelosi said bluntly.