However, a growing number of lupus and arthritis patients have complained that they’ve been unable to fill their prescriptions amid ongoing shortages, and reports have emerged that some physicians are hoarding the drug for themselves. Federal officials also have privately complained that Trump’s focus on anti-malaria drugs has distracted from efforts to investigate more promising therapies.
Trump has pushed to experiment with new therapies and not wait on the usual clinical protocols, given the unprecedented nature of the coronavirus pandemic. Asked by a POLITICO reporter whether his agencies should wait for more evidence on anti-malaria drugs, the president on Friday stressed the need for speed, alluding to disagreements with infectious-disease specialist Anthony Fauci — one of several officials who has privately counseled the president not to rush on unproven medicines.
“I think Tony would disagree with me … [but] we have a pandemic, we have people dying now,” Trump said, adding that he’d recently spoken with FDA and been frustrated by the agency’s pace.
“They indicated that we’ll start working on it right away. It could take a year,” the president said. “I said what do you mean a year? We have to have it tonight.”