The VA has stopped almost all use of an unproven malaria drugs on vets with COVID-19, Veterans Affairs Secretary Robert Wilkie said Thursday.
At a House hearing, Wilkie defended the initial use of hydroxychloroquine because it was meant "to give [patients] hope" at a time few treatment options were available.
Wilkie said now, however, government-run VA hospitals have "ratcheted it down" to just three prescriptions in the last week amid studies that have raised alarms about possible dangers and other available COVID-19 treatments.
"I expect that trend to continue in the future," he added.
President Donald Trump has heavily pitched the drug — and has said he has taken it hiimself to prevent coronavirus infection.
"We are all learning as we go in this crisis," Wilkie told a House appropriations subcommittee. "Our mission is to preserve and protect life."
According to the VA's website, 13,657 veterans have been infected with the coronavirus, and 1,200 have died.
VA data provided Thursday to Congress show weekly prescriptions for hydroxychloroquine surged from about two in mid-March to a peak of 404 about two weeks later as Trump began promoting its use.
They tapered off in late April amid backlash over results of the VA hospital analysis and as remdesivir emerged as a form of treatment.
In all, 1,370 veterans were prescribed hydroxychloroquine for COVID-19.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.
© 2023 Newsmax. All rights reserved.