Vice President Mike Pence touted a potentially unsafe COVID-19 treatment on Tuesday even after it had been linked to deaths.
Pence, who's been leading the White House's response to the new coronavirus, appeared for a Fox News town hall on Tuesday. That's where Dr. Mehmet Oz asked him about the malaria drug chloroquine that's been discussed as a potential treatment for the new coronavirus, and Pence seemed more than hopeful about the drug's prospects.
"There's no barrier to access chloroquine in this country. We're looking to add to that supply," Pence said of the drug. "We are engaging in a clinical trial" with the intent to make chloroquine available "for off-label use." But when asked if he'd take chloroquine if he became infected with COVID-19, Pence only said he'd follow the advice of his physician, even after repeated prodding from Oz. That cautious part of Pence's response was left out of a clip shared by the Trump campaign.
Pence's chloroquine confidence comes after President Trump repeatedly touted the drug's potential in a Monday night press conference. After that, Nigeria reported two fatal overdoses of chloroquine and implored its citizens not to use the drug, which "will cause harm and can lead to death." A man in Arizona died and his wife was hospitalized after ingesting a form of chloroquine that's used to clean fish tanks. The woman said she got the idea from Trump.
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