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President Donald J. Trump
The most transactional political leader in the world has turned out to also be a leading advocate of “game changer” drugs for the treatment of the coronavirus.
Welcome to the power of the President of the United States of America as now wielded by Donald J. Trump.
At one of his now frequent news briefings on March 19, showcasing his administration’s “very beautiful”, “very very beautiful” responses to the coronavirus as it takes hold in the United States, Mr. Trump, according to the ABC News, “announced in that briefing that he’s directed the United States Food and Drug Administration to "eliminate outdated rules and bureaucracy" to help speed up the pace of testing drugs that could help treat the symptoms of COVID-19 and discussed two specific drugs as "essentially approved" for use against the virus”.
The two “game changer” drugs Trump said have been “essentially approved” for prescribed use, are the investigational antiviral drug Remdesivir, which has never been approved by the U.S. FDA for any disease, and the drug Chloroquine, which has only been approved to treat malaria and some arthritis. Neither drug is FDA approved for COVID-19.
Talking further about chloroquine, ABC News reported Trump as saying in one breath, it is "essentially approved," and in another breath, “it has already been tested and is on the market which can speed up new approval.”
According to ABC News, Mr. Trump acknowledged in the news briefing that “the FDA is still studying the drug”. He also implied that it would be available immediately by prescription when he said "And I think it's going to be very exciting. I think it could be a game changer. And maybe not. Maybe not, but I think it could be, based on what I see, it could be a game changer. Very powerful, they’re very powerful."
Fast forward to Nigeria.
Nigeria, is Africa’s most populous nation of 200 million people. It is a nation where despite extant laws, any drug, yes, any drug, ethical or non-ethical, can be purchased in pharmacies and or open drug markets without prescription,
Prior to Mr. Trump’s briefing of March 19, messages were already going around on social media about “chloroquine being a cure for coronavirus” according to Ms. Ore Awokoya, senior special assistant to the Lagos state governor on health, talking to AFP.
The Guardian Newspaper, a leading and authoritative newspaper in Nigeria reported Ms. Ore Awokoya as saying that “after Donald Trump’s statement, the social media touting of chloroquine took another dimension, and people were massively queueing in front of the pharmacies to buy chloroquine.”
Awokoya described the rush to take the drug as “worrying” given that people were “self-medicating without any sort of guidance”.
“We’ve already registered two cases of poisoning — the patients have been hospitalised in Lagos — but we will probably see more and more cases in the coming days,” she said.
How about that for the global power of utterances of the United States President?
Published: March 22, 2020
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