What a pleasant surprise to see one of my favorite medical experts as a guest on THE INGRAHAM ANGLE Tuesday night. Most of all, it was gratifying to see he thinks the same way I do about hydroxychloroquine/zithromycin therapy, even though he is a world-famous physician and entrepreneur and I am not.
Oh, by the way, Gov. Huckabee was on the show, too. More about that below.
Dr. Nicholas Perricone, MD, is widely known for his groundbreaking series of books on nutrition and aging, starting with THE WRINKLE CURE and THE PERRICONE PRESCRIPTION. I think I’ve read every one of them. He also developed a line of skin care that I have used over the years as my budget would allow. But perhaps he is best known for “the Perricone Diet,” a regimen based mostly on wild salmon and vegetables, designed to provide the right nutrients for skin (and brain) and to avoid the damaging blood sugar spikes that high-carb diets cause. I’ve followed it for a long time –- no endless pasta bowl and breadsticks for me –- and even wrote and performed an operatic song parody about it in a one-person comedy show about the pursuit of beauty called MY SHIP HAS SAILED. The song: “O Worship Dr. Perricone.”
VIDEO LINK: https://youtu.be/CtSWkUscZ74
When I performed this in larger venues, he appeared behind me on screen in a stained glass window…
Anyway, I’ve always considered Dr. Perricone to be way ahead of his time, so it doesn’t surprise me that he would be looking into this experimental treatment for the Wuhan coronavirus (COVID-19). Apparently, he’s been prescribing hydroxychloroquine for his patients with autoimmune diseases and getting results. And though as a physician he considers himself “risk-averse,” he said he's very surprised at the reluctance of the medical community to move forward with the off-label use of this FDA-approved medication to treat COVID-19.
He advised looking at the “risk-benefit ratio.” This antimalarial drug came out in 1945 (!), he explained, and there are about a million patients every year taking it for autoimmune diseases such as lupus and rheumatoid arthritis. “There’s nothing better, as far as I’m concerned, in terms of safety of a drug [than] to have it being used a long time,” he said, “and 70 years is a very long time.”
Ideally, he said, we’d love to have some really compelling studies, lots of data, “but we don’t have time for that.” We have to move fast. And this is a short, five-to-seven-day regimen, for which “the side-effect profile is extremely, extremely low.” So, looking at the risk-benefit ratio, we have a drug that’s been “tried and true” for 70 years (low risk), combined with good data coming in (high benefit).
Given the severity of the disease, “it makes no sense to me whatsoever,” he said, “to hesitate distributing this drug.” Of course, it’s important to be under a doctor’s care, he added, to make sure it won’t interact badly with some other drug the patient is taking or if there are “any underlying problems.”
We need to move very quickly on this, he concluded. Every day counts in terms of saving lives. He went even further, to say that anyone hesitating now is doing this country “a huge disservice.”
I completely agree with Dr. Perricone (dare I say, “worship” him?), and would add that my main concern is that much of the reluctance to go all-in on this drug therapy is because if it worked, it would prove President Trump right and help him win re-election. That decision should be based not on any political considerations whatsoever but on the kind of analysis Dr. Perricone has offered. I don’t know how he votes; perhaps he’s apolitical. Anyway, the discussion should be shaped not by pro- and anti-Trump forces but by what has been shown to help people get well. There are some who hate Trump so irrationally that they would actually deny him this accomplishment.
Personally, as someone who is in the “red zone” on the risk scale (due to previous lung damage as a complication from H1N1 flu in 2009), if I somehow get sick with this in spite of working from home and careful “social distancing,” I have looked at costs and benefits just as Dr. Perricone has and have made up my mind...I am getting that treatment.
As mentioned, Gov. Huckabee was on Laura Ingraham’s show as well, with Byron York, to discuss the chatter surrounding New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo and a possible bid for the White House.
Obviously, this is happening because the Democrats have to find SOMEBODY more on-the-ball mentally than Joe Biden, who is showing himself to be less than worthless in a crisis. Byron York pointed out --- though he hardly had to --- that Democrats are looking at Biden and see someone who’s really struggling.
The Governor noted that Biden, in doing those bizarre shadow-commentaries following the President’s press briefings, is doing a lot of damage, not only to his own prospects but to the country by trying to pretend that “he’s really gonna be the President.” The more Biden talks, the less confident people are in his ability to handle something like the current situation. In contrast, Huckabee gave Gov. Cuomo credit for the way he’s been handling the role of a governor in managing such a crisis.
"Governors tend to be good presidential candidates most of the time,” Huckabee said, “because, frankly, they’ve managed a microcosm of the federal government. Every single thing you have at the federal level you have at the state level, just with fewer zeroes on the end of your budget.” But, having been in those shoes himself, he really doesn’t think Cuomo is thinking about the presidency. “When you’re dealing with a major crisis,” he told Laura, “you’re trying to stay ahead of it and manage it and deal with it, and the thought that you’re gonna try to figure out how this is gonna advantage you politically, to be honest with you, you just don’t have time for that.
"There WILL be time for that, and I’m sure he’ll, maybe, consider it, because of the way he’s managed [this], but right now, I’d cut him some slack, give him a break and say I think he’s legitimately trying to lead his state through a very difficult crisis, and, frankly, I’d give him a passing grade in the way he’s doing it.”
The Gov. also praised President Trump for trying to strike a balance between the “science” of medicine and the “art” of politics. Decisions have to be made with the understanding of what’s possible in the political environment. Democrats in Congress are interested in scoring “political points,” not in helping their enemy get the American people back to work and earning paychecks. Trump’s also got Wall Street concerns, and –- mostly –- he’s got millions of Americans who are scared.
"I think this President is handling it in exactly the executive way that he was hired to do,” the Governor said. “Thank God he’s in that chair right now and not Hillary Clinton, as could have happened.”
Now THAT would’ve been something to be scared about.