Hey, Buddy! Wanna Buy $2 Million In Pure Uncut Oklahoma Hydroxychloroquine?
The coronavirus pandemic is far from over, but the state of Oklahoma is looking to return some medical inventory it stocked up on but for some reason never actually used. That would be $2 million worth of hydroxychloroquine, the malaria drug that Donald Trump insisted was a miracle cure for COVID-19. That meant that rightwing media also insisted the drug was a miracle cure, because Trump saying it made it true, and at least 22 states, including Oklahoma, got out their wallets.
OK, sure, there were no actual controlled clinical trials showing hydroxychloroquine was any good against COVID-19, and the FDA dropped its emergency authorization for the drug's use in treating the disease. But that's only because doctors and the medical establishment were out to make Trump look bad.
Now, nonprofit Oklahoma news outlet The Frontier reports, the state is trying to negotiate the return of its hydroxy stockpile to the California pharma wholesaler whence it came, an outfit called FFF Enterprises, which coincidentally is the sound we made when we saw this story on Twitter.
Alex Gerszewski, a spokesman for Oklahoma Attorney General Mike Hunter, told The Frontier this week that the AG's office was working with the state health department "to try to figure out a solution."
Gerszewski said Hunter's office had gotten involved at the request of the Oklahoma State Department of Health.
When Oklahoma bought all that hydroxy last April, Governor Kevin Stitt got a lot of criticism from folks saying his motives were less than science-based. Or as the Frontier delicately puts it, the purchase was "viewed by some as a partisan move to curry favor with conservatives who were defending Trump." Stitt insisted, however, that stocking up on a drug that hadn't been proven to be of any use was just being on the safe side, like stocking up on masks or gloves, or on ventilators. Better to have the unproven treatment that's only supported by anecdotes and not need it than not have it and suddenly see all the science proven wrong.
And that appears to still be Stitt's official line, even as the state is trying to unload roughly 1.2 million pills that the state will not be using. When the Frontier asked for comment, Stitt spokesperson Carly Atchison explained it's very important to be prepared for anything!
Every decision the Governor makes is with the health and lives of Oklahomans in mind, including purchasing hydroxychloroquine, securing PPE, and now distributing vaccines as quickly and efficiently as possible to combat this COVID crisis.
And as far as we can tell, she didn't have anything at all to say about the fact that Oklahoma is trying to unload its stockpile. Maybe she meant Oklahoma needs to be ready for a sudden outbreak of malaria. The drug can also be legitimately prescribed for other diseases, like lupus or arthritis; last spring's hydroxy craze actually led to some shortages for those patients.
The Frontier notes that Stitt wasn't the only Oklahoma pol with an undue enthusiasm for the useless (for COVID-19) miracle cure touted by Trump, either:
In August, Rep. Justin Humphrey, R-Lane, promoted hydroxychloroquine as a viable treatment after he had contracted COVID-19.
Though the drug had been widely discredited at that point, Humphrey, who has recently made news for seeking to establish a Bigfoot hunting season in Oklahoma and made waves in 2017 when he referred to pregnant women as "hosts," encouraged Oklahomans to "take courage and begin treating COVID with Hydroxychloroquine."
Now that's how you embed fun facts in another fun fact.
It's unclear whether Oklahoma can actually get any kind of return on its purchase; the wholesaler didn't return a request for comment from the Frontier. But hell, if Oklahoma can't return the pills to the wholesaler, for FFF sake, it might be able to donate them to some medical charity that can make use of them.
We'd suggest they be used as landfill for some future monument to political stupidity, but they'd probably dissolve after a good rain and make the thing sink. Then again, that might set exactly the right tone.
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Doktor Zoom's real name is Marty Kelley, and he lives in the wilds of Boise, Idaho. He is not a medical doctor, but does have a real PhD in Rhetoric. You should definitely donate some money to this little mommyblog where he has finally found acceptance and cat pictures. He is on maternity leave until 2033. Here is his Twitter, also. His quest to avoid prolixity is not going so great.