Oklahoma is trying to return its $2 million stockpile of hydroxychloroquine, an anti-malaria drug once touted by former President Donald Trump — despite limited medical evidence — as a promising treatment for COVID-19.
A spokesman for Oklahoma Attorney General Mike Hunter confirmed to HuffPost on Tuesday that Hunter’s office had been asked by the state’s Department of Health to help them offload the hydroxychloroquine stash. Oklahoma’s The Frontier was the first to report the news.
Oklahoma came under scrutiny last year for its order of 1.2 million hydroxychloroquine pills — about 100,000 doses — from FFF Enterprises, a private medical supply wholesaler based in California.
As The Associated Press noted in April, at least 20 other states also ordered the drug after Trump’s promotion of it, but the vast majority of them obtained the medication through donations. Only Utah and Oklahoma chose to shell out their own money to buy the drug, AP said.
Utah spent $800,000 on its hydroxychloroquine stockpile, but the state promptly canceled its order after facing backlash for the purchase. Oklahoma, however, defended the acquisition, with the state’s then-secretary of health saying that the money would not go to waste because hydroxychloroquine “is useful for any number of ailments.”
Trump last year repeatedly promoted hydroxychloroquine as a COVID-19 treatment — even after multiple clinical trials found the drug to be an ineffective treatment for the virus and the Food and Drug Administration cautioned people against using the drug outside of a clinical setting because of its myriad side effects.
According to The Frontier, Oklahoma is now seeking to return its hydroxychloroquine stockpile to FFF Enterprises. It remains unclear how much, if any, of its $2 million could be refunded.