Coronavirus treatment: Dr. Donald Trump peddles snake oil and false hope

President Donald J. Trump

Editor's note: The views expressed in this Opinion piece are those of the original source and are not necessarily endorsed by the Editorial Board of DatelinehealthAfrica.

 

One of the first acts of the federal precursor to the Food and Drug Administration in 1916 was to crack down on the sale of a cowboy's cure-all called Stanley's Snake Oil, which government chemists discovered promised much more than it delivered. The product helped give rise to the expression snake-oil salesman

If Donald Trump wasn't quite the quintessential snake-oil salesman at a news briefing this week and on Twitter Saturday — touting preliminary and even unproven medical remedies to the new coronavirus pandemic — he came disturbingly close. 

Perhaps eager to demonstrate haste and hope after squandering weeks with a glacial rollout of COVID-19 testing kits, the president pitched Thursday that his FDA is now "slashing all the red tape"  to review new therapies that:

  •  "Have shown very encouraging — very, very encouraging early results."
  •  "Could be a game changer. Very powerful."
  •  "Could be a tremendous breakthrough."

 

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