Oz has urged the Trump administration to push research into hydroxychloroquine, emails show

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  • Dr. Mehmet Oz encouraged the Trump White House to push research into hydroxychloroquine, emails show.
  • Oz, the Republican Senate candidate from Pennsylvania, sent snippets of his show to Jared Kushner.
  • Numerous studies have shown that hydroxychloroquine is not an effective treatment for COVID-19.

Dr Mehmet Oz’s Democratic rival, Pennsylvania Lt. Gov. John Fetterman, said it was “actually unsurprising” that, according to a new report, Oz pushed former President Donald’s administration Trump to seek an unproven COVID-19 treatment.

In the early weeks of the pandemic, former President Donald Trump embraced the malaria treatment hydroxychloroquine as a possible treatment for COVID-19. Trump described hydroxychloroquine, along with another drug, as potentially “one of the biggest game changers in medical history.”

Behind the scenes, as well as on Fox News and his own daytime television show, Dr. Mehmet Oz encouraged optimism about the drug despite there being little evidence at the time that it worked. Since then, numerous studies have shown that it is not an effective treatment for COVID-19.

A new report, from the House Select Committee on the Coronavirus, shows that Oz – now the Republican Senate nominee from Pennsylvania – was emailing senior White House officials to encourage interest in the former president, as the Philadelphia Inquirer reported on Wednesday.

“Here’s an excerpt from my show,” Oz wrote to White House aide Jared Kushner on March 23, 2020, including a link to an interview with a French doctor who advocated that “all patients ‘should'” immediately” start taking hydroxychloroquine and azithromycin. , although he noted that “we should start clinical trials simultaneously”.

Screenshot of an email between Jared Kushner and Dr. Mehmet Oz

Correspondence between Dr. Mehmet Oz and former White House aide Jared Kushner.

Screenshot/House Special Committee on the Coronavirus Crisis


Five days later, Oz emailed Dr. Deborah Birx, then the White House coronavirus response coordinator, to share that he had read a ‘pre-print’ of a study by the same French doctor. analyzing the drug combination. “The French won’t use a control group for ethical reasons,” he noted, “but the treatment seems safe and the results are better than expected.”

Rachel Tripp, spokesperson for Oz, defended its early adoption of unproven treatments.

“At the start of the pandemic, Dr. Mehmet Oz spoke to health experts around the world who considered hydroxychloroquine and azithromycin to be viable treatment options for desperately ill COVID patients and offered to fund a clinical trial at Columbia University,” she said.

Oz’s plea has previously been reported by The New York Times, which in April 2020 noted that he “was in touch with Mr. Trump’s advisers to expedite approval for use of the coronavirus drug” .

The report released this week details Trump’s White House efforts to pressure the FDA to approve hydroxychloroquine as a treatment for COVID-19; the former administration also stockpiled some 66 million doses of malaria drugs.

Studies have since found that hydroxychloroquine does not help people infected with the coronavirus. In May 2020, for example, a Columbia University study of nearly 1,400 people with moderate to severe COVID-19 found that those who received the drug “did not fare any better than patients. who had not received the drug,” according to a press release.

Back when he was publicly and privately increasing hydroxychloroquine, critics accused Oz, then a member of the White House Council on Sports, Fitness and Nutrition, of promoting the drug. “The fact that he has the President’s uncritical ear only amplifies any potential harm,” Timothy Caufield, chair of health law and policy at the University of Alberta, wrote in an op-ed. of April 2020 for NBC News.

Oz tempered his enthusiasm by calling for more research. But, as the Inquirer noted in his report, he denied the findings. “Even today, two years later, we don’t know if it works. It was never allowed to be studied,” he falsely claimed earlier this year.

Oz’s promotion of questionable treatments, including weight-loss supplements, has become an issue in his Senate campaign. At a press conference earlier this month, three doctors criticized him for sometimes promoting quack medicine on his television show, in particular green coffee bean extract, which he described as a “magical cure for weight loss”.

In a similar vein, in response to the House report, the Fetterman campaign said in a statement to Insider, “It’s… actually not surprising. It’s what he’s been doing on his TV show for two decades. – taking advantage of the trust of its viewers and causing real harm.”

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