Tens of thousands of hydroxychloroquine doses are being used by the Department of Veterans Affairs on any given day.
“Those of us whove had a military life—some of us around this table—weve been taking this drug for years,” Secretary of Veterans Affairs Robert Wilkie told reporters at the White House Tuesday.
On any given day, the department uses 42,000 doses, Wilkie added.
Whether to prescribe COVID-19 patients hydroxychloroquine, a medicine traditionally used against malaria and lupus, has become a politically charged issue after repeated touting by President Donald Trump, who informed reporters this week that hes been taking the drug since early May.
Every veteran who has received hydroxychloroquine consulted with their doctors before taking it, in addition to their families, according to Wilkie.
“We are doing everything we can to protect the lives of our veterans. And this is one of the means that we used,” he said.
Researchers based in South Carolina and Virginia performed an observational study on 368 male veterans who received the drug and said they found no evidence hydroxychloroquine works against COVID-19, the disease caused by the CCP (Chinese Communist Party) virus. They also said they found an increase in mortality in patients who received the drug.
The results were critiqued by Wilkie, who said the veterans involved were “in the last stages of life.”
Wilkie renewed that criticism Tuesday, saying the researchers took the numbers and “did not clinically review them.” The results of the study, he noted, werent peer reviewed. And the researchers didnt examine “the various comorbidities that the patients who were referenced in that study had.”
A researcher who co-led the study didnt immediately respond to a request for comment.
The researchers wrote in their preprint paper that the results “highlight the importance of awaiting the results of ongoing prospective, randomized, controlled studies before widespread adoption of these drugs.”