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Pressed by President Donald Trump, US pushed unproven coronavirus treatment guidance

In mid-March, President Trump personally pressed United States federal health officials to make malaria drugs available to treat the novel coronavirus, though they had been untested for Covid-19, two sources told Reuters.

Shortly afterward, the United State federal government published highly unusual guidance informing doctors they had the option to prescribe the drugs, with key dosing information based on unattributed anecdotes rather than peer-reviewed science.

While President, in a series of tweets and press comments, had made his opinions on the drugs, chloroquine and hydroxychloroquine, well known, the nature of his behind-the-scenes intervention has not been previously reported. The guidance, published by the Centres for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), has received scant notice outside medical circles.

The episode reveals how the Trums’s efforts could change the nature of drug oversight, a field long governed by strict rules of science and testing. Rarely, if ever, has a United State president lobbied regulators and health officials to focus their efforts on specific unproven drugs.

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