Clive Palmer Is Stockpiling 32M Doses Of Trump’s Completely Unproven COVID-19 ‘Cure’
In a garish three-page newspaper advertisement, Palmer says health minister Greg Hunt is on-board.
Australian drugs regulator the TGA has dropped its investigation into billionaire Clive Palmer’s ongoing advertising blitz promoting a drug touted by Donald Trump as a COVID-19 “cure”, despite little evidence.
Since March, Trump has repeatedly promoted anti-malaria drug hydroxychloroquine as a promising treatment for COVID-19, as anecdotal evidence suggested it could help fight the virus. As per The New York Times, the president also has a “small financial interest” in the drug.
“What do you have to lose?”, he said in an early briefing, before an American man in his ’60s died days later after ingesting chloroquine phosphate, found in both anti-malaria drugs and fish tank cleaners. In interviews, his widow told the public “don’t believe anything that the president says and his people”, and advised they follow advice from medical officials.
A US preliminary study has since suggested the drug does not help patients fight off COVID-19. In fact, there were significantly more fatalities within those who were given the drug vs. those who weren’t. It’s early days, and more testing is underway, but there is currently little evidence beyond anecdotes of hydroxychloroquine’s effectiveness.
Regardless, Palmer quickly jumped on Trump’s ‘cure’ in March with a mass advertising campaign across Facebook, as well as a two-page ad in The Australian, which said the mining magnate and former MP would himself fund the access of the drug for Australians.
The ads have been followed up this week with three-page, very text-heavy newspaper spots, which you can read in full on media blog Mumbrella. The ads say Palmer has bought almost 33 million doses of the drug, which are promoted as Australia’s best bet against COVID-19 without a vaccine.
He says he will donate these 32.9 million doses for free to the government, and has been supported for his efforts by health minister Greg Hunt.
CLIVE PALMER TAKES OUT THREE FULL PAGE ADS
Announcing his foundation – with the approval of the Australian government – has gone out & raided global supplies of hydroxychloroquine.
What role has the Australian government played in this procurement @GregHuntMP & WHY#Auspol pic.twitter.com/yZIQ4dbaj6
— 💧 Sleeping Giants Oz 📣 (@slpng_giants_oz) April 27, 2020
The Daily Telegraph has full page ads from Clive Palmer talking about hydroxychloroquine curing Covid-19, in case you were wondering if the newspaper wanted their readers to die or not. pic.twitter.com/9TqfKxMlDK
— Fyre Haytham『Version2』 (@Version2LP) April 28, 2020
The first ad also quoted University of Queensland professor David Paterson describing the drug as a “cure”, a statement which he told the Guardian was taken out of “context”. As per Melissa Davey’s reporting, Paterson has repeatedly called it a “potential cure for all” in (now-edited) published material and media appearances.
The TGA has announced that Palmer’s ads do not violate any regulations, as they are not promoting the sale of the drug, and was dropping their investigation
In a tweet, former PM Kevin Rudd was incredibly critical of Palmer’s three-page ad, calling it “irresponsible” from both Palmer and the Murdoch press.
“I thought quack medicine was limited to Trump‘s America!,” he wrote. “What on earth is Murdoch doing, taking Palmer’s money to promote across every tabloid an unproven and dangerous “cure” for COVID-19? People have died taking this stuff. How irresponsible can you get?”
In addition to malaria, hydroxychloroquine is used in treatments for rheumatoid arthritis, lupus, and PCT, a skin condition that can cause liver issues and blistering from sunlight exposure. Medical officials fear that the stockpiling drug may cause shortages both in malaria-affected regions and for those who have prescriptions.
This time last year, prior to winning no seats at the federal election despite spending big, Palmer helpfully reminded us that he was a “bad person” who is incredibly rich.