Israeli drugmaker to donate 6 million doses of promising coronavirus drug hydroxychloroquine

Drug already FDA approved for malaria, Trump asked agency to look into use for coronavirus

Updated: March 21, 2020 - 11:23am

Israeli drugmaker Teva Pharmaceutical Industries said Friday that it will immediately donate more than 6 million doses of hydroxychloroquine – a malaria drug that has shown promise treating coronavirus patients.

President Trump has touted the potential of the drug and has asked the Federal Drug Administration to test its possibilities, as researchers work on a coronavirus vaccine. 

Teva will donate the drug in sulfate tablets through wholesalers to hospitals across the U.S., amid an urgent demand for the medicine.

“We are committed to helping to supply as many tablets as possible as demand for this treatment accelerates at no cost,” said Brendan O’Grady, a Teva executive vice president. 

O’Grady also said the company has already assessed its supply of the drug and is “urgently” acquiring additional ingredients.  

Trump on Friday was pressed by reporters about the drug’s safety and potential. 

The president acknowledged the idea is indeed experimental but said, “What do we have to lose,” amid the pandemic.  

Teva plans to ship the six million tablets by March 31.

The tablets are also FDA-approved for treating lupus erythematosus and rheumatoid arthritis, in addition to malaria.