Hydroxychloroquine: Fact Check

Hydroxychloroquine has been at the center of extensive disinformation campaigns. It is a drug used to treat a number of medical conditions, most commonly malaria, rheumatoid arthritis, and lupus. It has both anti-inflammatory and anti-bacterial effects. Since the pandemic, it has been relentlessly pushed by bots, trolls, bad faith actors and the current administration as an effective treatment for COVID-19. It is not.

On September 1, a study found that taking HCQ with azithromycin, a drug that Trump has also recommended to fight COVID-19, increased coronavirus mortality rates by 27%. Earlier studies of the drugs being used together also found that they increased the chance of heart attacks. In a tweet on March 21, Trump said: “HYDROXYCHLOROQUINE & AZITHROMYCIN, taken together, have a real chance to be one of the biggest game changers in the history of medicine.”

In August 2020, the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel found that 293 people had died from taking HCQ in 2020 and that over half of these people were taking the drug to combat COVID-19. In 2019, 75 people died from HCQ over the same period.

On April 24, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) cautioned against using HCQ outside of a hospital or clinical trial after finding that the drug was associated with serious heart rhythm problems that occasionally led to death in the patients. On June 15, the FDA revoked the emergency use authorization (EUA) for HCQ, after finding that “these medicines showed no benefit for decreasing the likelihood of death or speeding recovery.”

None of this has stopped the trolls or the Trump administration from continuing to hawk it to people desperate for a cure and as a way to discredit the institutions working to protect the American people from false information and harmful treatments. It is worth noting that while President Trump has been hospitalized after his positive COVID-19 diagnosis, none of his treatments have included hydroxychloroquine.

Since March 1, there have been more than 8 million retweets of HCL disinformation, almost 5 million from bots.

Since June, more than 14 billion impressions have been generated by retweeted disinformation.

Disinformation is dangerous for many reasons, especially during a public health crisis. The campaign to promote hydroxychloroquine is only one example.  Don’t take/ingest anything without your doctor’s approval. Before believing information going viral on the internet, research the sources and the motivation behind what you’re being sold.


Yours in Strength,

The Take Back Control Team

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