When US president Donald Trump mentioned that he’s taking hydroxychloroquine, he immediately got an extra dose of flak from both the mainstream media and noted medical experts such as US House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA).
Pelosi chided Trump for taking “something that has not been approved by the scientists” (it has been) and worried that he’s at risk of side effects because he’s “morbidly obese” (he’s not).
A Bing search on the terms “hydroxychloroquine” and “unproven” returns nearly 28,000 results for the 24 hours following Trump’s statement. The media apparently want us to believe that there’s something sketchy and experimental about hydroxychloroquine.
Contra Pelosi, hydroxychloroquine was “approved by the scientists” at the US Food and Drug Administration in 1955.
Those scientists deemed it both “safe” in general and “effective” for certain disorders (obviously not including a virus which they couldn’t even know existed for anther 65 years), with doctors permitted to prescribe it “off-label” for other maladies.
As of 2017, hydroxychloroquine was the 128th most prescribed drug in the United States, at more than 5 million prescriptions. It appears on the World Health Organization’s List of Essential Medicines. Nobody was calling it “unproven” in any way until Donald Trump mentioned it, and nobody would be calling it that now if he HADN’T mentioned it.
Is hydroxychloroquine effective either as a treatment for, or protector against, COVID-19? Various juries are likely to be out on that question for a long time.
Are there known side effects associated with the drug’s use? Sure. Find a drug with no side effects and you’ve probably found a drug with no effects at all.
Do any of the facts above really matter? No.
It’s none of the FDA’s business what drugs Donald Trump decides to take.
It’s none of Nancy Pelosi’s business, either, unless he feels like discussing it with her.
It’s only the media’s business because he decided to tell them about it.
And if you decide to take hydroxychloroquine, or any other drug, it’s nobody else’s business either.
It’s probably a good idea to consult your doctor before taking just about any medication, but that’s YOUR call, not anyone else’s, to make.
It’s YOUR body.
It’s YOUR life.
It’s YOUR decision.
Don’t let Nancy Pelosi, the media, or anyone else tell you otherwise.
Thomas L. Knapp (Twitter: @thomaslknapp) is director and senior news analyst at the William Lloyd Garrison Center for Libertarian Advocacy Journalism (thegarrisoncenter.org). He lives and works in north central Florida.