Politician and businessman Clive Palmer has hit out at the Australian government for their handling of the current Covid-19 pandemic, specifically targeting their stance on the use of the drug hydroxychloroquine, which he has imported into the country at scale.
The drug, which has been in us for a long time, initially as a prophylactic treatment for malaria, has sprung to prominence in recent weeks after it was linked with being a treatment for the coronavirus.
This move led to Palmer, one of the richest men in Australia, obtaining permission from Australia’s drugs regulator to import both the drug and the materials required to produce it.
Patients finding hydroxychloroquine hard to source Despite his bold move people who use the pharmaceutical for treatment of conditions like Lupus and rheumatoid arthritis are finding it hard to obtain.
It seems as if due to its suddenly raised profile, hydroxychloroquine stocks in Australia have been severely impacted, creating a situation where people who need to use it for anything other than Corona related treatment are not able to source it.
“It is important that Australians that have been using the drug to treat malaria, lupus and autoimmune diseases over the last 40 years will not have any difficulty in acquiring the drug,” Palmer said.
In turn, infectious diseases Professor Peter Collignon told The Guardian, “If Palmer has truly donated this quantity to the stockpile, and it’s sitting there while the evidence is showing there’s not much chop for it treating Covid-19, the sensible thing to do would be to see what else can we use this supply for.”
Trump’s influence muddies the water
It would appear as though the drug is in the middle of a financial and political war, a situation not made any easier by Donald Trump’s jumping on the Hydroxychloroquine bandwagon recently.
Quite how the situation resolves itself remains to be seen, but, one thing is certain, if Palmer has indeed imported the drug in the quantities he suggests then Australians should not be having any issues accessing it. According to Palmer he has imported enough supplies to provide 33 million doses of the drug and that his stash has all been made available to the national stockpile.