The malaria drug was once touted as an effective treatment for COVID-19 by former US President Donald Trump. Oklahoma is now trying to return a $ 2 million worth of money.
The Oklahoma Attorney General is trying to return a US $ 2 million malaria drug that was once touted as an effective treatment for COVID-19 by former US President Donald Trump, a spokesman said Wednesday.
Alex Gerszewski, a spokesman for Attorney General Mike Hunter, said Hunter was trying to negotiate a return of the 1.2 million hydroxychloroquine pills that Oklahoma acquired from a California supplier, FFF Enterprises, in April. He said the office was acting at the request of the Oklahoma Department of Health, which approved the purchase.
A spokeswoman for FFF Enterprises didn’t immediately return a message on Wednesday asking for comment.
Oklahoma’s attempt to return the hydroxychloroquine was first reported in the online news publication The Frontier.
Republican Governor Kevin Stitt defended the purchase last year, saying the drug showed promise as a treatment in early March and he didn’t want to miss an opportunity to acquire it.
“I’ve been proactive to protect Oklahomans,” Stitt said at the time.
Since then, the drug has been shown to have little or no effect on severe cases of COVID-19, and a former state health official has attributed Oklahoma’s purchase to something that happened in the “fog of war.”
While governments in at least 20 other states received more than 30 million doses of the drug through donations from the Federal Reserve or private companies, Oklahoma and Utah bought them from private pharmaceutical companies.
Then-Utah Governor Gary Herbert, a Republican, initially defended the state’s purchase of $ 800,000 worth of 20,000 packets of hydroxychloroquine with zinc, but later canceled an additional plan to add $ 8 million more to the purchase of Spend 200,000 more treatments. The state then managed to get a refund for the $ 800,000 no-bid contract it signed with a local pharmacy company that promoted the drugs.
The pharmacy company’s CEO has since pleaded guilty to a federal misdemeanor for mislabeling the drug imported from China. Dan Richards, the operator of Meds In Motion, admitted receiving large quantities of the drug from an unregistered manufacturer in China that was incorrectly labeled as an herbal supplement.
His attorney said he was trying to source as much of the product as possible as it appeared to be a promising treatment for the coronavirus at the time.