Veterans Affairs Secretary Robert Wilkie said Thursday that hydroxychloroquine will continue to be offered to VA hospital COVID-19 patients despite criticism, and he believes that the media has been pointing to studies that say the medication is unproven because they wish to aim attacks more at President Donald Trump and his statement that he's been taking the drug.
"As we speak, Dr. Anthony Fauci and his institute [the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases] are conducting detailed clinical trials and I would underline the fact that it is the 128th most-used drug in this country," Wilkie said on Fox News' "Fox and Friends First." "We have seen it work in many settings across America and our goal is to do everything we can to preserve and prolong life."
He also disputed a VA study that "the press has been touting" as something that "researchers took and used VA numbers to look at the underlying medical conditions and misrepresented what was going on."
The study showed a higher death rate for patients who took the drug alone, compared to those who didn't take it, but Wilkie said that the hospitals "used it with veterans in the last hours of life in the hopes of prolonging that life."
"We will continue to do that under FDA guidelines that we have been following religiously," he added.
Wilkie also noted that Trump has been taking the medication under the observation of his doctor.
"We are not going to take risks with the life of the president of the United States," said Wilkie. "We started using this in the military in 1955. Everyone who has served in the military since the Eisenhower administration has taken this regularly. We know its side effects, we know what it does and if we can offer hope to people we will continue to do that."
Sandy Fitzgerald ✉
Sandy Fitzgerald has more than three decades in journalism and serves as a general assignment writer for Newsmax covering news, media, and politics.
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