Citing Heart Problems, FDA Calls For Limiting Use Of Antimalarial Drugs Trump Championed

A Salvadoran Health Ministry worker shows a package of bottles of HydroxyChloroquine pills to be distributed in hospitals in San Salvador on April 21, 2020, amid the COVID-19 coronavirus outbreak. (Photo by Yuri CORT... A Salvadoran Health Ministry worker shows a package of bottles of HydroxyChloroquine pills to be distributed in hospitals in San Salvador on April 21, 2020, amid the COVID-19 coronavirus outbreak. (Photo by Yuri CORTEZ / AFP) (Photo by YURI CORTEZ/AFP via Getty Images) MORE LESS
Start your day with TPM.
Sign up for the Morning Memo newsletter

The Food and Drug Administration on Friday warned that heart complications caused by the antimalarial medications championed by President Donald Trump “can be life-threatening.”

The FDA flagged “reports of serious heart rhythm problems” in COVID-19 patients treated with the antimalarials Trump has hyped, hydroxychloroquine or chloroquine. It also pointed out the “increased use of these medicines through outpatient prescriptions.”

“Therefore, we would like to remind health care professionals and patients of the known risks associated with both hydroxychloroquine and chloroquine,” the agency said, warning against using the drugs outside of a clinical or hospital setting.

Trump has for weeks boosted the drugs despite the lack of widespread evidence that they are effective against COVID-19.

A study of VA hospital patients recently failed to find hydroxychloroquine effective against the disease, and a Brazilian study of chloroquine use on COVID-19 patients was halted due to the risk of fatal heart rate irregularities like those described in the FDA warning.

Just last month the FDA issued an emergency use authorization, or EUA, to allow millions of donated doses of chloroquine and hydroxychloroquine to be distributed to hospitals through state public health officials. The director of the agency that received the authorization, who was recently demoted to another role, alleged this week that he faced political pressure to allow the widespread use of the drug.

At the time the EUA was issued, in late March, medical and regulatory experts rang alarm bells about insufficient evidence supporting the drugs.

“I would like to see who [at the FDA’s Medical Countermeasures Initiative] signed off on this EUA despite the total lack of scientific evidence that chloroquine/hydroxychloroquine are beneficial in the treatment of COVID-19,” Luciana Borio, the FDA’s former acting top scientist, wrote in response to the emergency authorization.

“EUA is supposed to be issued when the evidence indicates that benefits outweigh the risks.”

Trump’s boosterism of the drugs has prompted fear among regular users — the medicines were used to treat lupus and rheumatoid arthritis long before the COVID-19 pandemic — about supply issues. The heart complications among COVID-19 patients using the antimalarials have arisen more recently as the drugs have come under increased scrutiny.

“We are continuing to investigate these safety risks in patients with COVID-19 and will communicate publicly when more information is available,” the FDA wrote.

Latest News

Notable Replies

  1. No matter what you do MAGAts…
    Do not drink Hydroxychloroquine or the Kook-Aid concoction laced with bleach stirred-up by your Dear Covidiot Bleacher IMPeetus just so can “own the libs”…
    Otherwise, Gastrectomy or DOA is in your near future!

  2. But hydroxychloroquine mania also flows from the rigidly hierarchical view conservatives hold of society, one where even basic necessities like health care should be differentiated along class and race lines. Public health measures like quarantine and vaccine are viewed suspiciously precisely because they involve everyone on an approximately equal basis. They long for a special kind of medical care, one that’s just for the people they see as better than everyone else.

  3. Avatar for spin spin says:

    The real problem is that the fucking drug has no possitive effect. Trump was touting a very small study, of healthy people given the “FOX News Cure” - not surprisingly some of the healthy (or not very sick) folks with Covid-19 did not die. But to show an impact you need to look at very sick people, and outcomes.

    The entire thing was quackery from the start, and I really hope that people who bought in to this all and got hurt sue the shit out of Trump and FOX “News”. Discovery will be fun…

  4. Shhhh…Don’t tell tRump. He might have a hissy fit.

  5. So the FDA should be abolished by, let’s say, Monday morning?

Continue the discussion at

34 more replies


Avatar for discobot Avatar for srfromgr Avatar for mondfledermaus Avatar for irasdad Avatar for slagathor Avatar for hagarwood Avatar for lastroth Avatar for thebishop Avatar for tao Avatar for serendipitoussomnambulist Avatar for schmed Avatar for benthere Avatar for pshah Avatar for reggid Avatar for jinnj Avatar for brian512 Avatar for dannydorko Avatar for spin Avatar for maximus Avatar for libthinker Avatar for stevecoh1 Avatar for dominic Avatar for bcgister Avatar for occamscoin

Continue Discussion
Masthead Masthead
Founder & Editor-in-Chief:
Executive Editor:
Managing Editor:
Associate Editor:
Editor at Large:
General Counsel:
Head of Product:
Director of Technology:
Associate Publisher:
Front End Developer:
Senior Designer: