Hillsborough County is among the areas in Florida being hardest hit with coronavirus that will receive a shipment of hydroxychloroquine, a drug that is being touted by some as a possible treatment for the symptoms of coronavirus.
During a news conference on Saturday, Gov. Ron DeSantis said he worked with David Friedman, the U.S. ambassador to Israel – who he said he considers a friend -- to arrange the shipment from Israeli company Teva Pharmaceuticals.
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“We’ve now arranged shipments of the hydroxychloroquine to be sent to hospital systems in Dade County, Broward and Hillsborough,” DeSantis said. “Once they have it, if other hospitals need it, we want to be able to help everybody throughout the state.”
DeSantis cited a Floridian who was administered the drug while in New York, where instances of coronavirus have exploded.
The patient, DeSantis said, was “in very bad shape with COVID-19, used it, and it seemed to clear up the lungs and the virus.”
“Look, I’m not a doctor,” DeSantis said. “I’m not telling anyone to take it or not take it. But I do believe in the idea of a right to try. If somebody is really in bad shape and there’s no other treatment available, and a doctor believes this is something that could be helpful, we want that patient to be able to have access.”
DeSantis said the arrangement is part of an effort to expand testing throughout the state.
Hydroxychloroquine is a treatment for malaria that has been referenced by President Donald Trump during his White House coronavirus briefings as a possible treatment for coronavirus.
“I’m not saying anything about it,” DeSantis said. “I just think that if somebody is in dire condition and may not have any other option, we want to be able to give them all the opportunities that they have.”
It was not immediately known when the shipments would arrive.
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