According to the new book, “The Divider: Trump in the White House 2017-21” by Peter Baker and Susan Glasser, Donald Trump told then-HHS Secretary Alex Azar to greenlight hydroxychloroquine as a COVID treatment because Laura Ingraham recommended it on TV.
According to Media Matters, the book quotes Trump, on March 18, 2020, talking up the anti-malarial drug’s effectiveness as a COVID treatment to a skeptical Azar: “Laura says hydroxychloroquine works. It’s perfectly safe, so just approve it. … Laura takes it, it’s safe. … I want it approved today, that’s an order.”
Not long afterward, a New York Times article on April 6, 2020, with Baker as the lead author, reported that Trump also had a financial interest in hydroxychloroquine:
If hydroxychloroquine becomes an accepted treatment, several pharmaceutical companies stand to profit, including shareholders and senior executives with connections to the president. Mr. Trump himself has a small personal financial interest in Sanofi, the French drugmaker that makes Plaquenil, the brand-name version of hydroxychloroquine.
Some associates of Mr. Trump’s have financial interests in the issue. Sanofi’s largest shareholders include Fisher Asset Management, the investment company run by Ken Fisher, a major donor to Republicans, including Mr. Trump. A spokesman for Mr. Fisher declined to comment.
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.
We do not know if Ingraham has or had any financial stake in pushing hydroxychloroquine.
We do know that the drug was subsequently found to be ineffective for treating COVID-19.
We also know that the Foxification of our public health system has cost American taxpayers in more ways than one.
More from Media Matters:
The federal government ultimately amassed a stockpile of 66 million doses of a drug that is not effective in treating COVID-19 because Fox hosts told Trump that it worked and he believed them. Meanwhile, the network moved on to peddling ivermectin, another drug studies show is ineffective in treating COVID-19, while slandering the actually effective COVID-19 vaccines. The results for Fox’s viewers have been devastating.
📣 Since May 1, 2021 (the point when every U.S. adult was eligible to be 2-dose vaccinated), the COVID death rate in the reddest tenth of the country (by Trump 2020 vote) has run over 3.0x higher than in the bluest tenth. pic.twitter.com/DNzvZXAySR— Charles Gaba 🇺🇦 (@charles_gaba) September 11, 2022
(Trump image via screen grab)