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As Trump Touts an Unproven Coronavirus Treatment, Supplies Evaporate for Patients

Published in: The Washington Post

As Trump Touts an Unproven Coronavirus Treatment, Supplies Evaporate for Patients Who Need Those Drugs

Data gathered in the first 17 days of March by Premier Inc., a large group-purchasing organization for 4,000 US hospitals, showed a 300 percent week-over-week increase in orders of chloroquine and a 70 percent week-over-week boost in orders of hydroxychloroquine.

“Both drugs are pretty much depleted right now in the distribution channel and wholesale distributors are reporting both products on back order,’’ said Soumi Saha, senior director of advocacy at Premier.

In a typical month during 2019, sales of chloroquine to Premier’s 4,000 hospitals were 149 bottles of 100 pills, Saha said. In the first 17 days of March, those hospitals bought 2,357 bottles.

For hydroxychloroquine, those purchases were 16,000 bottles in the first 17 days of March, which is well more than twice the normal consumption, she said.

Those large purchases likely represented hospitals stocking up on supply, she added, so there may be more reserve inventory sitting on hospital pharmacy shelves.

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