Veteran advocates say VA has provided few answers around agency's virus study – NBC News, NBC News
Veteran advocates say they are frustrated at the lack of transparency around the Department of Veterans Affairs’ use of the unproven drug hydroxychloroquine as a treatment for coronavirus .
After the release of a preliminary study of veterans hospitalized with Covid – this week that showed that hydroxychloroquine – an anti-malaria drug touted by President Donald Trump – had no benefit and caused a greater amount of death, these groups want answers and are worried they may have been misled by the agency on its recent purchase of the drug.
Jeremy Butler, CEO of Iraq and Afghanistan Veterans of America, said that the results of the study were “incredibly troubling for a number of reasons “and that the VA needed to provide answers.
“ Why were veterans who were receiving treatment from a federal agency being treated with an unproven and speculativ e drug? “he asked in a statement. “What was the approval process used by doctors, patients and their families in discussing and agreeing upon this treatment option? At what point did the VA know that the results were this dire and when did they act upon those results? What are the VA’s current procedures for approving and administering the drug? ”
The study included results from 370 patients and is now the largest examination of the drug’s effect on patients suffering from coronavirus. Researchers concluded that there was a greater prevalence of death among those who took the drug rather than those who only received standard care.
Secretary Robert Wilkie briefly mentioned the study in an interview with MSNBC last week, downplaying its results.
“That’s an observational study,” he said. “It’s not a clinical study. It was done on a small number of veterans. Sadly, those of whom were in the last stages of life, and the drug was gi ven to them. And I have to also say that we know the drug has been working on middle-age and younger veterans. ”