Gov. DeSantis: Hydroxychloroquine for COVID-19 ‘wasn’t anything we ever endorsed’

New color-enhanced image of coronavirus SARS-CoV-2 (in blue), which causes the dangerous respiratory disease COVID-19. Credit: National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases-Rocky Mountain Lab

Gov. Ron DeSantis on Monday defended the state’s acquisition of 1 million doses of the drug hydroxychloroquine to treat COVID-19 patients despite questions about its efficacy and safety.

“What I’ve said from the beginning is, I’m not a doctor. I’ve had physicians say they’ve had positive clinical results,” the governor said during a news conference.

“And I think a lot if it is, if you give it to somebody that’s clinically ill, it’s certainly not going to help — it’s too late. If you do it early, they think it can help,” DeSantis said.

On that basis, he appealed to President Trump for supplies of the drug, he said. The president was an early advocate of the drug notwithstanding evidence it could cause cardiac problems.

Reports suggest the drug, more commonly used to fight malaria and lupus, didn’t do well in clinical trials against COVID-19.

“If they want to use it, they can use it. If they don’t, they don’t. It wasn’t anything we ever endorsed, per se,” DeSantis said. Some doctors are using the drug and have found that it can help, he added.

The state also is acquiring supplies of another pharmaceutical, remdesivir, that may hold promise, the governor said. That drug, too, has drawn mixed reviews but “it’s ultimately up to the doctor and patient,” the governor said.

Michael Moline
Michael Moline has covered politics and the legal system for more than 30 years. He is a former managing editor of the San Francisco Daily Journal and former assistant managing editor of The National Law Journal. He began his career covering the Florida Capitol for United Press International. More recently, he wrote for Florida Politics.