Why is Trump touting hydroxychloroquine? Follow the money
Trump and his cronies are investors in Sanofi, the French drugmaker that makes Plaquenil, the brand-name version of hydroxychloroquine. Trump has been touting hydroxychloroquine as a possible coronavirus cure, despite lack of scientific evidence, and also despite significant risks to people who take it, and despite its being needed for legitimate, proven medical uses, such as treating lupus.
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Sanofi’s largest shareholders include Fisher Asset Management, the investment company run by Ken Fisher, a major donor to Republicans including Trump.
Another investor in both Sanofi and Mylan, another pharmaceutical firm, is Invesco, the fund previously run by Wilbur Ross, the commerce secretary. Mr. Ross said in a statement Monday that he “was not aware that Invesco has any investments in companies producing” the drug, “nor do I have any involvement in the decision to explore this as a treatment.”
As of last year, Mr. Trump reported that his three family trusts each had investments in a Dodge & Cox mutual fund, whose largest holding was in Sanofi….
Several generic drugmakers are gearing up to produce hydroxychloroquine pills, including Amneal Pharmaceuticals, whose co-founder Chirag Patel is a member of Trump National Golf Course Bedminster in New Jersey and has golfed with Mr. Trump at least twice since he became president, according to a person who saw them.
Andrew Cuomo is also touting the drug.
Dr. Daniel H. Sterman, the critical care director at NYU Langone Health, said doctors there are using hydroxychloroquine, but data about its effectiveness remained “weak and unsubstantiated” pending the study. “We do not know whether our patients are benefiting from hydroxychloroquine treatment at the present time,” he said.
On the other hand, many healthcare providers are advising use of the drug based on good preliminary results.
Dr. Roy M. Gulick, the chief of infectious diseases at Weill Cornell Medicine, said hydroxychloroquine was given on a case-by-case basis. “We explain the pros and cons and explain that we don’t know if it works or not,” he said.
Doctors at Northwell Health and Mount Sinai Health System are using it as well. At the Mount Sinai South Nassau County branch on Long Island, doctors have employed a regimen of hydroxychloroquine and azithromycin “pretty much since day one” with mixed results, said Dr. Adhi Sharma, its chief medical officer.
“We’ve been throwing the kitchen sink at these patients,” he said. “I can’t tell whether someone got better on their own or because of the medication.”