Wilkie defends VA hydroxychloroquine use, says vets weren't used as 'test subjects'
April 30, 2020
About 28 percent of those given the drug died compared to 11 percent who were given only routine care. The drug did not make a difference in the need for a breathing machine such as a ventilator and researchers noted that the drug may have damaged other organs.
In a letter and a call to veteran service organizations representing millions of former service members on Wednesday, Wilkie downplayed a non-clinical study conducted using VA records of veteran patients in department hospitals who were treated with the drug. The study showed that veterans were more likely to die or require ventilation if treated with the antimalarial drug than if they were under only standard care.
The call and letter follow Wilkie advocating for the drug last week, arguing it had been effective for younger and middle-aged veterans, though so far there is no published evidence supporting that.
In the letter, obtained by Connecting Vets, Wilkie said the study showing veterans were more likely to die or worsen when treated with the drug "led to misinformation about what did and did not happen at VA."
He said veteran patients with the virus were treated with the drug only with guidance from a doctor and denied the allegation vets were used as "test subjects" for the drug.
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