Despite warnings from the Food and Drug Administration about the use of a malaria drug to ward off the Coronavirus, President Donald Trump told reporters on Monday that he is taking hydroxycholorquine, saying that he started using the malaria drug several weeks ago.
"You'd be surprised how many people are taking it," the President said to reporters during a round table with restaurant industry leaders at the White House.
"I happen to be taking it," Mr. Trump said, drawing immediate questions in the White House State Dining Room.
"I'm taking it. Hydroxychloroquine. Right now, yeah," Mr. Trump added.
BREAKING: President Trump reveals he has been taking Hydroxychloroquine for "a couple weeks" pic.twitter.com/6McJNv8pR9— Breaking911 (@Breaking911) May 18, 2020
“I'm not going to get hurt by it,” the President said, telling reporters that he's been taking the drug for several weeks.
“It's been around for 40 years, for malaria, for lupus. I'd take it,” Mr. Trump added.
The disclosure by the President comes several weeks after the FDA issued a public warning against the use of hydroxychloroquine for COVID-19, because of the risk of heart troubles.
"The FDA is aware of reports of serious heart rhythm problems in patients with COVID-19 treated with hydroxychloroquine or chloroquine, often in combination with azithromycin and other QT prolonging medicines,” the FDA stated.
“Patients who also have other health issues such as heart and kidney disease are likely to be at increased risk of these heart problems when receiving these medicines,” the FDA added.
The President said he decided to take the drug - which was approved by the White House doctor - in part because of letters from doctors saying it was helping their patients.
.@jeffmason1: What is the evidence that hydroxychloroquine has a preventative impact?— Aaron Rupar (@atrupar) May 18, 2020
TRUMP: "Are you ready? Here's my evidence -- I get a lot of positive calls about it ... what do you have to lose?" pic.twitter.com/51b967dypu
An FDA spokesperson, when asked for comment: "Please contact the White House." https://t.co/vcjilWx5e8— Geoff Bennett (@GeoffRBennett) May 18, 2020
“I would have told you three, four days ago,” the President said to reporters, “but you never asked me the question.”
The surprise disclosure by the President continued his public defiance of health experts over the malaria drug, as he continues to press it as a way to help people to ward off the virus.
But that has not swayed some at one of his favorite news networks.
“This will kill you,” said Fox News anchor Neil Cavuto soon after the President's announcement.
Fox News's Neil Cavuto is stunned by Trump's announcement that he's taking hydroxychloroquine: "If you are in a risky population here, and you are taking this as a preventative treatment ... it will kill you. I cannot stress enough. This will kill you." pic.twitter.com/e6D5alfAgc— Aaron Rupar (@atrupar) May 18, 2020
"Hydroxychloroquine and chloroquine have not been shown to be safe and effective for treating or preventing COVID-19," the FDA stated on April 24.
Democrats in Congress were incredulous.
"As with injecting bleach, please do not listen to the President," said Rep. David Cicilline (D-RI). "Listen to your doctor instead."
Along with possible heart issues, past studies by the National Institutes of Health have found psychiatric issues as well.
“Hydroxychloroquine can induce adverse effects on the central nervous system, from irritability, nervousness, and emotional changes to true psychoses,” one NIH study reported in 2017.