Many have latched on to unproven methods and medications as a way to defeat the coronavirus that threatens to engulf the country. In some ways, this is because of desperation because there is no known cure for the disease. Given the need for a quick solution to help the millions who may be sickened, we will likely have to rely on existing treatments that may also be helpful to treat COVID-19. However, there have been some recommendations for medications that may potentially be dangerous. This includes President Trump, who has been talking up various medications as possibilities to treat the virus. Now, the medication that he has recommended is responsible for the death of an Arizona man and the hospitalization of his wife.
Some Members of the Public Reacted to President Trump’s Press Briefing
Scientists have been trying to find previously approved drugs that could also work on coronavirus symptoms. In many ways, the country does not have a choice since the time is short before tens of thousands of Americans could die. One existing treatment that some scientists have thought may work to treat COVID-19 is the chemical chloroquine. This is a drug that has been around since the 1950s and was previously approved as a malaria treatment.
In a press briefing, President Trump touted the benefits of the drug and hailed it as a possible game-changer. However, at the same press conference, the experts standing behind him on the briefing podium expressed caution about jumping to any conclusions about the drug. Many have questioned whether chloroquine is safe and have speculated that the possible cure may be even worse than the virus. Nonetheless, the CDC and FDA have been looking into the potential to use this drug as part of coronavirus treatments. However, they have not arrived at a place where they have said that it is either safe, effective or both. Nonetheless, based on some media reports and the President’s publicity, some have begun to try to self-medicate and give themselves what they think is chloroquine to either treat COVID-19 symptoms or to inoculate themselves from them.
This Arizona Couple Poisoned Themselves with the Wrong Chemical
In this case, an Arizona man and his wife heard about the possibility that chloroquine could treat coronavirus and sought to find the chemical so they could keep themselves safe. However, the chemical that they found was not exactly a drug. It was chloroquine phosphate, which is not the same thing. This chemical is the same substance that is added to fish aquariums to keep them clean and is not safe for human consumption.
Both the husband and wife ingested the substance based on their mistaken belief that it would keep them safe. The man went into cardiac arrest from the chemical and died. His wife was hospitalized in critical condition from the poison, but she is recovering. In other words, spurred on by loose talk of a possible breakthrough in coronavirus treatment, this husband and wife poisoned themselves. Later, in a television interview, the woman admitted that she was familiar with the substance because she owned koi fish and thought the two were the same thing. When she heard it being mentioned on television, she thought she could take this substance and keep from getting sick.
With regard to the chloroquine, time will tell it or another medication ends up being the most effective form of treatment for coronavirus. Doctors have been forced to rely on limited knowledge in making treatment decisions and can hardly be faulted for the treatment options that they recommend in such a dire situation. Left without access to medical equipment and supplies, doctors are forced to do the best that they can with what they have at their disposal and their current knowledge. Under these emergency circumstances, they will likely be given wide leeway in the medical decisions that they make.
Nonetheless, the FDA has not come to the conclusion that chloroquine is the best treatment for COVID-19. The President did order that the agency fast track their consideration of the issue as the public and private sectors put their collective heads together to figure out the best way to treat the pandemic.
Manufacturers Cannot Stretch the Truth About Their Products with Regard to COVID-19
If there is any party that may have legal liability as a result of treatment for COVID-19, it is any entity that makes false claims regarding the effectiveness or the uses of their product or medication. For example, if a manufacturer of a product suggested that it is able to effectively treat or prevent the virus, there would need to be a scientific basis for that claim. Absent that, it is a warranty that their product could not fulfill. There are not many manufacturers that would display that level of temerity during these current times, but false claims by a manufacturer are something that you need to be aware of as many product makers seek to find ways to sell their products during tough economic times.
For your part, you should make sure to listen only to the medical experts as to what is an appropriate treatment for the virus and what are the best products to keep you safe. Make sure to be very skeptical of any claims about a product that is not backed up by the explicit recommendations of the FDA and CDC. While the manufacturers are not allowed to make false claims about their products, some of the burden is on you to exercise proper judgment during these times.
Of course, you can also take steps to help protect the public from some of these false claims because we are all in this together. If you see a manufacturer making dubious claims about the effectiveness of their product, make sure to report the false claims to a class-action attorney. The attorney can help hold them accountable by filing a lawsuit against the manufacturer that will make them legally responsible and will keep them from making these claims in the future. If you have suffered harm from one of these products, you may be able to file a product liability lawsuit to receive financial compensation.