GOP senator who pushed 'miracle' drug rejects study showing it may lead to death

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Texas Sen. John Cornyn questioned a study this week that showed a drug Trump has been pushing to treat COVID-19 actually led to more deaths.

Sen. John Cornyn (R-TX) on Tuesday questioned a study by U.S. researchers that found a malaria drug Donald Trump has been pushing as a "miracle" cure for COVID-19 is no miracle at all — and might lead to death for some patients who take it.

"How about real clinical trials?" Cornyn tweeted, calling into question the validity of the government-funded study that found the drug, hydroxychloroquine, offered no apparent benefits.

The researchers also found that more patients who received the drug died than those who received routine care for the disease.

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"The study was posted on an online site for researchers and has been submitted to the New England Journal of Medicine, but has not been reviewed by other scientists," Cornyn added, suggesting that it was not valid.

Cornyn himself has touted smaller — and more widely criticized — studies previously to push hydroxychloroquine.

Back in March, when Trump was under fire for calling the drug a "game changer," Cornyn cited a study in France that claimed it was effective in treating patients.

The study — which was also promoted by celebrity Dr. Mehmet Oz on Fox News — is what Trump initially based his support for the drug on, according to multiple outlets.

"Anecdotal but promising: France Officially Sanctions Drug After 78 Of 80 Patients Recover From COVID-19 Within Five Days," Cornyn tweeted on March 30, linking to an article from the right wing site Daily Wire.

The French study Cornyn tweeted about has been widely panned by the medical community.

According to CNN, the study included only 20 people. Some of the subjects eventually dropped out due to poor outcomes, but those outcomes were not reported in the researchers' final report.

Ultimately, the publisher of the journal in which the study appeared issued a statement acknowledging that "concerns have been raised regarding the content, the ethical approval of the trial and the process that this paper underwent to be published within International Journal of Antimicrobial Agents."

Trump has come under a bevy of criticism for pushing hydroxychloroquine, despite its unproven effects.

"Look, I feel, as the expression goes, 'What do we have to lose?' Because, you know, I feel very — I feel very good about it," Trump said of the drug at a March 21 White House news conference.

Trump also tweeted on March 21 that, "HYDROXYCHLOROQUINE & AZITHROMYCIN, taken together, have a real chance to be one of the biggest game changers in the history of medicine." He did not cite any substantial proof to back that claim.

When Democrats and medical professionals said it was irresponsible for Trump to push the drug without robust studies showing its effectiveness or possible side effects, some in Trump's orbit claimed baselessly that those who were against using the drug were simply anti-Trump and wanted to see him fail.

"The politicization of decisions like hydroxychloroquine have been amazing to me," Attorney General William Barr said in an interview with Fox News' Laura Ingraham on April 9. "Before the president said anything about it, there was fair and balanced coverage of this very promising drug, and the fact that [it] had such a long track record that the risk were pretty well-known. As soon as he said something positive about it, the media has been on a jihad to discredit the drug. It's quite strange."

Published with permission of The American Independent Foundation.