March 28: A barrage of text messages have been sent to doctors across the US, urging them to sign a petition in support of hydroxychloroquine, an anti-malaria drug touted by President Donald Trump as a potential miracle cure for COVID-19, the contagious and sometimes deadly respiratory disease caused by the new coronavirus.
“Tell Trump to CUT RED TAPE & make hydroxychloroquine available to you and your patients,” the message said.
Despite Trump’s claims that hydroxychloroquine could be among “the biggest game changers in the history of medicine,” the decades-old drug has no proven effect on COVID-19.
The text message barrage, aimed at medical professionals across the United States, was executed by the Job Creators Network Foundation – one of two related groups founded and funded by billionaire Trump supporters.
They include Home Depot Inc. co-founder Bernie Marcus – who set up the group – and tycoon Philip Anschutz, via his eponymous foundation. Andy Puzder, who was briefly Trump’s nominee for Secretary of Labor, was once also a prominent member of the network.
Foundation President Elaine Parker said her group was not necessarily endorsing the treatment. “We are not advocating for use of the drug, only access to the drug for doctors who determine that’s the best course of treatment for their patient,” she said in an email.