Officials in Oklahoma are reportedly trying to offload a $2 million stockpile of hydroxychloroquine — the malaria drug once touted by former President Donald Trump as a potential coronavirus treatment.
Republican Gov. Kevin Stitt ordered the purchase of 1.2 million pills, or about 100,000 doses, from a California-based pharmaceutical wholesaler in April.
At the time, Stitt said that even if the drug proved ineffective against COVID-19, it still had multiple other uses and “that money will not have gone to waste in any respect.”
However, according to The Frontier, both the state’s attorney general’s office and health department are now trying to return the shipment to the supplier, FFF Enterprises, Inc.
Oklahoma was one of 20 states that bought hydroxychloroquine for potential use against COVID-19, though only it and Utah purchased the drug from private wholesalers.
At the time, Stitt was criticized by Democrats for the purchase but defended it by saying that the drug showed promise as a treatment in early March, and that he didn’t want his state to miss out on a chance to acquire it.
Ultimately, the drug was discredited as a treatment option for the virus, including by the National Institute of Health, which released a report in November saying the meds had “no clinical benefit to hospitalized patients.”
It’s unclear how much of the $2 million the state could recoup.
Stitt’s spokeswoman Carly Atchison told The Frontier that: “Every decision the Governor makes is with the health and lives of Oklahomans in mind, including purchasing hydroxychloroquine, securing PPE, and now distributing vaccines as quickly and efficiently as possible to combat this COVID crisis.”
With Post wires