WASHINGTON (AP) — The Senate’s top Democrat on Sunday called on the Department of Veterans Affairs to explain why it allowed the use of an unproven drug on veterans for the coronavirus, saying patients may have been put at unnecessary risk.
Sen. Charles Schumer of New York said the VA needs to provide Congress more information about a recent bulk order for $208,000 worth of hydroxychloroquine. President Donald Trump has heavily promoted the malaria drug, without evidence, as a treatment for COVID-19.
Schumer’s request comes after a whistleblower complaint filed this past week by former Health and Human Services official Rick Bright alleged that the Trump administration, eager for a quick fix to the onslaught of the coronavirus, wanted to “flood” hot spots in New York and New Jersey with the drug. Major veterans organizations have urged VA to explain under what circumstances VA doctors initiate discussion of hydroxychloroquine with veterans as a treatment option.
“There are concerns that they are using this drug when the medical evidence says it doesn’t help and could hurt,” Schumer said in an interview with The Associated Press.
Source: Associated Press