Veterans have expressed frustration at Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell and Sen. Martha McSally due to their handling of the coronavirus pandemic.
Veterans Affairs Secretary Robert Wilkie announced earlier this month that his department has all but stopped use of an unproven malaria drug on veterans after weeks of providing the medication in an attempt to offer hope to veterans with coronavirus.
President Donald Trump has heavily pitched the drug — even saying in recent days he had been taking it to prevent coronavirus infection — without scientific evidence of its effectiveness.
The drug also received support from Sen. Martha McSally, R-Ariz., during a tele-town hall in late April. According to the Arizona Daily Star, McSally told listeners that certain medical providers had provided anecdotal evidence supporting the drug’s beneficial use by people experiencing coronavirus symptoms.
An analysis of a study conducted by the VA found that, while hundreds of veterans had been prescribed hydroxychloroquine, there was no evidence that benefited those suffering from COVID-19. About 28% of veterans who were given hydroxychloroquine plus usual care died, versus 11% of those getting routine care alone.
The actions of Wilkie – and subsequent support from McSally – have Arizona veterans concerned that national leadership is putting their health at risk.