The wife of an Arizona man who died after ingesting chloroquine phosphate to protect himself from the novel coronavirus spoke out Monday to urge the public not to “take anything” or “believe anything” without talking to a healthcare professional.
“We saw Trump on TV — every channel — and all of his buddies and that this was safe,” the woman told NBC News’ Vaughn Hillyard of President Donald Trump. “Trump kept saying it was basically pretty much a cure.”
NBC News reported that the man, 68, and his wife, 61, took chloroquine to guard against the novel coronavirus, which causes a potentially fatal disease known as COVID-19. It’s not clear how much chloroquine the man consumed, and Banner Health said he and his wife ingested a version of the chemical that’s used to clean aquariums.
Both of them needed to seek medical care within half an hour; the woman is in critical condition, and the man died.
The pharmaceutical version of chloroquine is used to treat malaria, but there is no conclusive evidence it is effective against the coronavirus, which the World Health Organization declared a pandemic earlier this month.
Trump has repeatedly touted the drug as a “very powerful” treatment for the disease and falsely claimed it had been approved by the Food and Drug Administration.
“It’s shown very encouraging — very, very encouraging early results,” Trump said last week. “And we’re going to be able to make that drug available almost immediately. And that’s where the FDA has been so great. They — they’ve gone through the approval process; it’s been approved. And they did it, they took it down from many, many months to immediate. So we’re going to be able to make that drug available by prescription or states.”
The FDA came out with a statement after Trump’s comments saying it had not approved chloroquine for the coronavirus and that much more research had to be done.
“Did you at any point hear that the FDA had not approved of it for coronavirus purposes?” Hillyard asked the woman.
“Yeah,” she said. “But, you know, they kept saying that it was approved for other things.”
Asked what her message to the American public was after what she and her husband went through, the woman told NBC News: “Oh my God, don’t take anything. Don’t believe anything that the president says and his people … call your doctor.”
“Please educate the people,” she added, according to audio of the conversation that Hillyard posted to Twitter. “It feels like, like my heart is broken and it’ll never mend. It’s just broke, dead. Like my husband. My husband is 68. We’re healthy. No underlying — no diabetes or lung issues. Nothing.”