April 14, 2020

This week's commentary on the politics of hydroxychloroquine generated many great letters. Here are a few, with answers from the Gov. Be sure to read through to the last one, with a very important consideration from Linda...

From James:

Thank you! I work at a hospital in Oregon; there are currently 5 inpatients out of 35 total confirmed CV-19 cases, in a region of 215,000 people. Our "surge" was 10 inpatients, the current 5 would probably all be discharged if given the HCQ + zinc. Businesses are all shut down due to the overreach of a Democrat governor and this attack on America needs to end now. We don't need a vaccine when there is already a CURE. Thank you for using your connections to shout this from the rooftops.

From the Gov:

Thanks so much for your message “from the trenches.” We can’t call it a cure yet, but anecdotal evidence and results from small studies are very encouraging. Doctors are free to prescribe it for off-label use, but if I understand correctly, you’re saying that even in the hospital, patients in Oregon are just not getting it. Is that because the governor is playing doctor, or why? Let us know!

RELATED READING: Doesn't everybody want a quick end to the pandemic?

From Robin:

Our Founding Fathers risked their lives, their fortunes, [and] their Sacred Honor, [and] the U.S. Military has fought countless battles since 1776 so that one of the things we have a right to do is VOTE! The least we can do is get out and vote! Arm yourself by practicing all the social distancing, masks, disinfectant. But I say a real VOTE! In a real voting booth!

Damn the torpedoes! Full Speed ahead!!

From the Gov:

Darn right! Armed with hand sanitizer and Clorox wipes! Mail-in ballots are for wussies (and cheaters). Thank you!!

From Robin:

I am a physician, an oncologist specifically, so I understand well the need for objective clinical trials to approve efficacy of a particular treatment. I am also a hopeful human being with a heart and would want the treatment for one of my loved ones –- or myself, if I was sick with the virus. Trump is expressing hope –- not trying to be the doctor –- and the media is merciless in skewering him for this. Fauci, on the other hand, is an academic ivory-tower type who is a purist (and sometimes he will turn out to be right –- maybe about this drug) and is not a doctor in the trenches actually taking care of patients in a desperate situation.

From the Gov:

Thank you, doctor, for your reasoned opinion. Couldn’t agree more.

From Jeane:

We’ve had mail-in ballots for all elections in Whatcom County, Washington State, since 2005. No one was asked if we wanted our voting to be changed from the friendly neighborhood stations at the public library or church basement or grange hall or fire station in-person voting method. And since then, somehow, miraculously, Washington State has swung way over to the Left, in everything from local school board elections to the important federal elections. Cause and effect? Absolutely! Election fraud in Washington State has been ridiculous due to mail-in ballots, especially since we are REQUIRED to check on the OUTSIDE [of the] envelope our party preference.

From the Gov:

Again, how conveeeeenient. They don’t even have to open the envelopes to know which ones to “lose.”

From Linda:

I don't ever reply to news articles. Never. But I'm a certified mama bear with a daughter who suffers from Lupus in Savannah, Georgia, and she is suffering greatly because the supply of Plaquenil has dried up for patients who suffer from immune disorders. Her rheumatologist, Dr. Stephens, is the best in Savannah and he can't get it. Subsequently, she's on a substitute drug and it's making her sicker.

By the way, all of the scary side effects of Plaquenil that liberals like to tout are side effects she has to just handle. Her eyes are failing, and it surely might kill her in the long run, but she has been on it for 10 years and her quality of life has been (not great) but manageable. By the way, this 35-year-old is a strong warrior in her faith and her conviction to love one another and her four children.

She is also the first to "sacrifice" her prescription if it's helping someone live through the coronavirus, but why should she have to do this? Why aren't they setting aside enough to take care of the patients who depend on this drug, and have depended on it for many years, at the risk of their own lives?

That's what I would like to know. Thank you.

From the Gov:

"Mama Bear,” your daughter is obviously a champion and should NOT have to sacrifice her health with an inferior substitute treatment. We checked at the Lupus Foundation of America website and see that there is indeed a great deal of concern right now about supplies of the drug, as “there are no good alternatives to hydroxychloroquine (Plaquenil) or chloroquine (Aralen) for people who need these medications. They are in a class by themselves and have the advantage of not being immunosuppressive...Your doctor will know best what alternatives may be available to you.”

What a terrible situation to be in. Ironically, I think the political push to keep HCQ out of the hands of coronavirus patients might also be making it harder for lupus patients to get the drug. If we had the “green light” to immediately produce MASS QUANTITIES of it to treat this virus on a large scale, rather than waiting for controlled, double-blind studies, there would logically be more medication for lupus patients, too. It’s quite inexpensive to produce. But right now, pharmacies and hospitals in many locations are getting it in dribs and drabs; they’re treating it like pure gold. Doctors who prescribe it for autoimmune disorders need a guaranteed source.

It will be interesting to find out whether people already on HCQ as a maintenance drug are getting COVID-19. At present, the website says there is no evidence that it offers protection from the virus, but I assume that statement is based on the lack of studies. (How long does it take to get some hard data on the infection rates of people who already take HCQ?) For now, they stress that lupus patients need to follow the same cautions as other high-risk people.

It’s good to know that your daughter isn’t suffering from unmanageable long-term side effects after 10 years on Plaquenil, but I’m so sorry she is losing her sight. (As I’m sure you know, the treatment for COVID-19 is only a five-day regimen.) There are some suggestions at the Lupus Foundation website for dealing with the shortage of the drug, though it seems as though you’ve already tried them. I hope and pray that your daughter’s situation is very temporary and that a supply of HCQ will soon be available to all who can be helped by it. Thanks so much for writing.

PS --- My two staff writers had a mom/mother-in-law with lupus, and they know how they would feel if she couldn’t get her medication. They wanted to pass along their best wishes to you and your daughter.

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Comments 1-20 of 20

  • Sherry Biglow

    04/18/2020 06:18 PM

    This is my second comment of the day on my medication; Plaquenil/Hydroxychloroquine. I wrote in my first comment of having taken this med for over 30+ years for RA which has sent me into remission. I cited two reasons for why this shortage may have occurred. I mentioned hoarding as the first reason, but rather suspect it is because of the second reason I stated. As we know, anything Trump says, the media and the left say the opposite to prove him wrong. Maybe what has really happened here is that our radical leftest CDC or someone with their power has told the drug companies to stop producing this med or to hold back shipping this to the pharmacies. Would be interesting yo know what and who has had a hand in this sudden scarcity.

  • Sherry Biglow

    04/18/2020 04:14 PM

    I am in my late 70s and have been on Plaquenil for over 30+ years and have had no side effects from this med! I have rheumatoid arthritis and have been in remission for this length of time. I have had my rheumatologist, neurologists and ophthalmologist tell me there are very few side effects and the one side effect that gives one a problem has to do with the retina of the eye and is very, very rare to ever occur! Most have never seen a side effect in their years of practice! It is the safest med and the cheapest med to take! My rheumatologist told me years ago that if it caused me to go into remission for my condition, it would take 6 months to kick in. Sure enough it did. I can’t tell you how much pain and stiffness I went through before remission. In fact every joint in my body was so inflamed that my skin peeled on every joint in from the heat (inflammation) caused and after my condition started to improve! I even had to change shoe size because of the swelling. One of my fingers stiffened so badly that I could not close it. I couldn’t dress myself, brush my hair, open a door or lift a pot or pan to cook with. It is a dreadful and painful disease and takes its toll on the person and can lead one to become very depressed. Thankfully with the help of this medication, I am able to live a normal life without pain, stiffness or any joint destruction. When President Trump opened his mouth about this med, I figured this would happen so I have had to reduce my dose from two pills per day to one! I have read that some doctors were writing prescriptions for themselves, their family and friends just in case—hoarding! Shame on them if this is true! My
    Here are my thoughts: only those whose health is compromised in some way should be offered this med. Why? It is because most will recover from this virus on their own. Only the elder or those with a health problem should be allowed to take this medication. I have read this virus is no worse than the common flu and I don’t doubt this one iota. I figure it was only to scare Americans. I do not trust the “deep state” members of the CDC and certainly not the WHO!!!!! Maybe Trump can figure out a way to get Plaquenil to those of us who depend on it, since he is responsible for causing this shortage!!! He should have kept his mouth shut! I am for Trump, but he has made a terrible mistake in this case! Shame on him!

  • Gregory Weinman

    04/17/2020 07:53 PM

    There are approximately 2 million US residents with RA and other Rheumatologic diseases. The RDS says it reports 110 cases of SARS-COV-2 with 17% Lupus. It does not report their medication. It is still a number far lower the the national average of 1/4 percent.

  • James Evart

    04/17/2020 07:01 PM

    So much for the medical profession in this country being first rate when they won't (not can't) even recognise a treatment (HCQ) that WORKS in healing people from this China Virus and hamstring a great President from mass producing it!
    The President said over a week ago that he has over 100 million "doses" of HCQ stockpiled. Why is it not being distributed and available to EVERYONE who needs it???????????????
    This countries medical establishment sucks the political tit.

  • Wanda Magdalen

    04/17/2020 03:58 PM

    I, for the life of me, can’t understand why when the Lupus medication has helped these people for years and proven that there are no short term effects, why aren’t they manufacturing this drug at warp speed! We don’t want to deprive any Lupus patients from this at all and use it on Corona Virus patients, because it’s helping so many! We don’t have time to do all the clinical testing that the doctors, who by the way, are not working directly with the patients who are suffering from this virus, just giving their opinions! They must stop dragging their feet! Very upsetting Governor!

  • Rosalie Gilliland

    04/17/2020 03:39 PM

    To Mama Bear in Georgia,
    I know I sound like a tree-hugging loon, but I've lost faith in Western medicine. In my 65 years I've experienced side effects from medication that were worst than the condition they were prescribed to treat. I've heard many people say that Big Pharma can't afford to cure people; then their business would dry up. Supposedly, they manufacture medicines that mostly just mitigate the problem, but also create new ones. Thus, new prescriptions are needed to manage those symptoms, and it all cycles downward. I'm all about being open to new things, and I've dabbled a little in Eastern cures - which rarely employ synthetic drugs. Since I've started deep breathing exercises, I find I'm able to control my heart arrhythmia without blood thinners. Now I want to try acupuncture and targeted massage, as well as learn about herbs and nutrients. I believe there isn't a condition under the sun that can't be managed, if not actually cured, with natural remedies. God bless you and your daughter.

  • Peggy McAulay

    04/17/2020 02:43 PM

    I have been on HCQ for three years for my arthritis and have not suffered side effects. I have been curious to know if those of us who have been on the drug may have some resistance to the virus. This seems that this would be very helpful to know about this drug. Hope someone is looking into this. I was fortunate to have a three month supply before this all started and praying I will not have problem refilling my prescription when the time comes. But the Lord is my great physician and my health is in His hands. Thank you for keeping us so well informed.

  • Judy Radley

    04/17/2020 02:37 PM

    Hmm, I wonder why the HCQ drug is so hard to get? Would it be because all the upper echelon liberals are getting it all and hoarding it and only giving it to the richest of the rich, those who are the socialists and trying to keep people sick to make the case for mail-in ballots so they can steal our democracy? I hope not, but I don't trust them, and I don't trust Gov. Cuomo. He and his other liberal socialist buddies are now trying to make people scared by thinking food can be contaminated now from those who make the food Americans need. An example, Schumer is now trying to say the FDA isn't doing as good a job on checking foodstuffs and that he wants xxx no. of $$$ to throw to some study group, i.e. throw down the toilet as any money Schumer gets, will never go to the intended reason, but will be thrown into the anti-Trump propaganda and try to somehow get a different president elected this November. Again, the upper echelon of the Liberal Socialist elitists don't care at all about other people, only themselves and they will bulk at any good news to re-open businesses in the wonderful and good capitalist America that we all know we fought for in 1776 and other wars since then. Just like what was stated on Tucker Carlson the other night by the NJ gov. about bars vs. churches.... Why bars are open but churches aren't? What a STUPID explanation that NJ guy gave, and he's a buddy of Cuomo's. They are forming a coalition for what? If Conservatives did that, they'd be screaming militia and rebellion, etc., but maybe we should, if the Liberals do it, then we Conservatives should too. A coalition on re-opening the economy.... More people would like that than anything the liberals' coalition would do.... again, suspicious when Liberals form any kind of hush-hush group..... Why only a few states that Cuomo stated, Conn., NJ, NY, CA, MI, all ruled by Liberal governors.... what does that tell you? It has nothing to do with re-opening businesses and the economy....! I'm afraid we have already lost our democracy now since this Chinese virus took over! Shutting down the economy? I truly feel it was overkill and unnecessary! Many other common sense and/or intelligent people feel the same way! Who were the first ones to shut things down? Liberal Governors! Washington state, NY, CA, MI, Chicago, IL, ! Why do you think that was? It wasn't to help people stay healthy, just to not spread it further....but mainly to shut down the economy!

  • Floyd A Unger

    04/17/2020 01:48 PM

    We simply must not quit

  • Carol Uscilowski

    04/17/2020 01:21 PM

    I may be wrong bu I do believe I read somwhere that in countries where malaria is prevalent that people take HCQ on a daily basis. These areas have little to no corona virus cases. Ya gotta wonder!

  • Bo Ehrig

    04/17/2020 01:13 PM

    I vote every time. I live in Hawaii. They check my ID. I go and vote Biblically.
    1. Do they support abortion ?
    2. Do they support Israel ?
    3. Are they a socialist ?

    I don’t care if they are dem or republican that’s my criteria. If they past this test I will vote for them.
    No on abortion
    Yes on Israel
    No on fees, taxes, and government oversee.

  • Don Mummert

    04/17/2020 01:06 PM

    Look no further than the cases and deaths in Vietnam where HCQ or CQ are taken by EVERYONE for malaria prevention. As of 2 days ago there were less than 300 cases and ZERO deaths in a country of 90,000. Enough said.

  • Doug Morgan

    04/17/2020 12:51 PM

    I also have a daughter-in-law in Oregon who has been under treatment for Lupus for several years and yes, Plaquenil has been her medication for all that time. Her side effects have been minimal and she like others that have commented, because she cannot get refils now, is trying to save them now in case someone else in her family should contract the virus. What a sham we have going on!

  • Terry Stephan

    04/17/2020 12:32 PM

    Gov; If HCL is in short supply, easy and cheap to make, and is essential for patients; why does President Trump not invoke the DPA and force some manufacturers to make it? There probably is not enough profit for the drug makers to make this on their own accord, so they need to be "forced" or subsidized by the federal government. If the above is true, please use your influence to get the President to overcome this temporary shortage and provide the medications needed.
    Thanks for all you do!!

  • Mary Tomlin

    04/17/2020 12:10 PM

    One of your readers suggested, "We don't need a vaccine when there is a cure." I beg to differ with him. My daughter-in-law didn't receive the HCQ+zinc until she had had the virus for over an excruciating week, then was put in ICU. A vaccine could have prevented that. Because of the treatment she was out of the hospital in two days.

  • Rick Jackson, MD

    04/17/2020 12:04 PM

    Hello Gov.
    Thanks for all you do to promote liberty, and the fundamental values that have made America great. in addition to being a practicing physician, I have quite a bit in common with you, playing bass guitar ( and as a vocalist, performed at the grand old Opry once!), am a Christian, ran for U.S. Congress twice (lost...), and like you, my daughter has been part of the trump administration ( appointed acting Dir. of the office of civil rights for education, spearheading the now completed reform of title IX - finally, signed by AG Barr last week!). Regarding coronavirus, as a family practice physician in Washington state, I deal with patient concerns and symptoms regularly. Early on I could prescribe hydroxychloroquine for presumed cases etc., but I told patients and pharmacies, that I knew this was not going to last. Recently, I felt it would be appropriate to prescribe hydroxychloroquine for a patient, but found that both Washington and Oregon are now restricting prescriptions to laboratory confirmed cases, who are also hospitalized. Regarding the "money for everyone" being sent out, as is usually the case, my wife and I once again fall into the category where we earn too much money to get a standard check, and too little to receive the "millionaires rebate" that I've heard about. But in the big picture, I am truly grateful for everything I have rather than what I don't have! God bless!

  • tom jeffs

    04/17/2020 12:00 PM

    I've gotta ask a stupid question young fella - - - - - - -

    who named COVID-19 and what is the reason for C-O-V-I-D and what is the reason for 19 ? ? ? ? ? ? ?

    the name SAR cov 2 seems to have a better basis - - - - - - -

    sorry for seeming so stupid but this is the product of an idle mind sequestered in quarentine times - - - - - - -

    keep safe and keep smiling young fella - - - - - - -

  • Gail Denham

    04/17/2020 11:53 AM

    What's the problem with that maleria drug? According to news, President Trump ordered millions of tablets to be available for virus patients (and I would assume this could also be for those needing it long-term). This is ridiculous that Lupus patients cannot get their own drug. I'd contact your congress person or several - right away - or even the Administration. Keep trying, Mama Bear.

  • mike wohlstein

    04/15/2020 09:26 AM

    All the diversion from answering the question "does it work" is most frustrating. NY has been having "Trials" for a month now. The treatment course is 5 days. You mean to tell me the 100's of doctors don't know if it works? What is the answer. If I am going to die from this virus, who cares if the drug may have side effects. The virus side effect is Death. What is the answer doctors? I don't need a double blind, 10,000 patient study for the answer to be non anecdotal.

  • Suzanne White

    04/14/2020 09:54 PM

    My daughter also takes Plaquenil for RA and could not get a full refill due to shortages. Shortages??? Wasn’t it a million doses sent to the NFL for preventive treatment to young healthy men who are also mega wealthy? My precious daughter has cut her dosage to save some for her father and me in case we get COVID because she knows we are too old to be considered “salvageable!” We also happen to be her sole health advocates.