Zeke Miller and Deb Riechmann (AP), “White House pushes unproven drug for virus, but doctors wary,” Washington Post, April 6, 2020 (10:35 a.m.EDT).
Rosalind S. Helderman, Josh Dawsey and Jon Swaine, “Giuliani, a familiar voice in Trump’s ear, promotes experimental coronavirus treatments,” Washington Post, April 5, 2020 (4:01 p.m. EDT).
Moreover, Peter Baker and a team from the New York Times have uncovered the possibility that Trump may have a financial interest in the promotion of hydroxychloroquine.
Peter Baker, Katie Rogers, David Enrich and Maggie Haberman, “Trump’s Aggressive Advocacy of Malaria Drug for Treating Coronavirus Divides Medical Community; While Dr. Anthony Fauci has urged caution in using hydroxychloroquine, some doctors are prescribing it to patients who have the virus despite the fact it has never been tested for it,” New York Times, April 6, 2020.
If hydroxychloroquine becomes an accepted treatment, several pharmaceutical companies stand to profit, including shareholders and senior executives with connections to the president. Mr. Trump himself has a small personal financial interest in Sanofi, the French drug maker that makes Plaquenil, the brand-name version of hydroxychloroquine.
The professional organization that published a positive French study cited by Mr. Trump’s allies changed its mind in recent days. The International Society of Antimicrobial Chemotherapy said, “The article does not meet the society’s expected standard.” Some hospitals in Sweden stopped providing hydroxychloroquine to treat the coronavirus after reports of adverse side effects, according to Swedish news media.
Some associates of Mr. Trump’s have financial interests in the issue. Sanofi’s largest shareholders include Fisher Asset Management, the mutual fund company run by Ken Fisher, a major donor to Republicans, including Mr. Trump. A spokesman for Mr. Fisher declined to comment.
Another investor in both Sanofi and Mylan, another pharmaceutical firm, is Invesco, the fund previously run by Wilbur Ross, the commerce secretary. Mr. Ross said in a statement Monday that he “was not aware that Invesco has any investments in companies producing” the drug, “nor do I have any involvement in the decision to explore this as a treatment.”
As of last year, Mr. Trump reported that his three family trusts each had investments in a Dodge & Cox mutual fund, whose largest holding was in Sanofi.
Obviously, these reports require further investigation. But they are entirely consistent whith what we know about what motivates Donald Trump.
The Trenchant Observer