Trump’s Latest Pharma Focus: A Decades-Old Flu Drug That U.S. Health Officials Have Repeatedly Rejected
After talking with Japan's prime minister, President Donald Trump has been pushing the FDA to allow use of a flu drug that scientists have warned could cause birth defects among other side effects. It's just the latest unproven drug that Trump has touted in recent days, but the others have at least been approved by the FDA for other uses.
White House Pressures FDA On Unproven Japanese Drug
The Trump administration is encouraging regulators to allow a decades-old flu drug to be administered as a possible coronavirus treatment, despite career officials’ concerns about the risks and limited evidence that the drug would work as a coronavirus treatment, according to three officials with knowledge of the deliberations and internal documents reviewed by POLITICO. Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe has championed the drug, Avigan, as a possible treatment, and clinical trials are now getting underway in Japan. Chinese scientists also have touted the drug, produced by Japan-based Fujifilm, as a potential coronavirus treatment, but global regulators and U.S. researchers have long expressed concern about the drug’s risks, such as birth defects, and have warned that the Chinese data is insufficient. (Diamond and Toosi, 3/31)
Clinical Trials Set To Determine If Anti-Malaria Drug Effective Against COVID-19
A nationwide trial is underway to see if the drug hydroxychloroquine can prevent disease in people exposed to the novel coronavirus. A second trial will test to see if the drug can prevent severe disease in people who are already showing COVID-19 symptoms.The trials are being run by David Boulware, an infectious disease scientist at the University of Minnesota. (Palca, 3/31)