A comprehensive guide to Fox's promotion of hydroxychloroquine and chloroquine - 2020-04-16
As the coronavirus spread throughout the country in March, Fox News repeatedly promoted the antimalarial drug chloroquine and a derivative, hydroxychloroquine, as treatment and prophylaxis for COVID-19 -- even though neither drug is proved to be effective or approved by the Food and Drug Administration as a treatment for this novel coronavirus.
In a now-familiar sequence of events, President Donald Trump began promoting hydroxychloroquine seemingly after watching positive coverage about it on Fox. The network responded to Trump's promotion with additional coverage of the drug, and host Laura Ingraham even touted her ability to influence Trump's thinking on its use. Trump has repeatedly contradicted his own medical experts, including Dr. Anthony Fauci, in making unsupported claims about the drug's effectiveness.
Hydroxychloroquine sulfate and some versions of chloroquine phosphate are approved by the FDA to treat malaria, but neither drug has been approved to treat COVID-19. The FDA did, however, issue an "emergency use authorization" on March 28 after Fox News promoted the drugs for weeks. The FDA's authorization enables doctors to prescribe these drugs to coronavirus patients under limited circumstances, but former FDA leaders have criticized the decision, noting that it could actually impede clinical trials, contribute to drug shortages, and undermine the FDA's scientific authority, while other experts have warned of the risks of off-label drug use.