US Vice President Mike Pence speaks during the daily briefing on the novel coronavirus, which causes COVID-19, in the Brady Briefing Room at the White House on April 13, 2020, in Washington, DC.
Mandel Ngan | AFP | Getty Images
Vice President Mike Pence said Tuesday he is not taking hydroxychloroquine as a preventive treatment for the coronavirus, Fox News reported.
“My physician hasn’t recommended that, but I wouldn’t hesitate” if it were recommended, Pence told Fox. The interview came a day after President Donald Trump said he has been taking a daily does of the anti-malaria drug for the past week. Trump has called the drug a “game changer,” but no drug has been proven effective in treating the coronavirus or preventing transmission of the disease.
Trump said Monday he was taking hydroxychloroquine, as well as zinc and an “original dose” of antibiotic azithromycin, known as Z-Pak, after asking the White House physician about the drugs.
“I asked him, ‘What do you think?’ He said, ‘Well, if you’d like it.’ I said, ‘Yeah, I’d like it. I’d like to take it.,'” Trump told reporters at the White House.
The Food and Drug Administration has warned that hydroxychloroquine can cause “serious heart rhythm problems” in patients with the virus who were treated with it, often in combination with azithromycin.
Following Trump’s remarks, however, FDA Commissioner Stephen Hahn said in a statement Tuesday that “The decision to take any drug is ultimately a decision between a patient and their doctor. Hydroxychloroquine and chloroquine are already FDA-approved for treating malaria, lupus, and rheumatoid arthritis.”
Fox News did not immediately respond to CNBC’s request for more information on Pence’s comments during the interview. Pence’s office did not immediately provide comment.
The White House has not been sealed off from the disease: Earlier this month, Pence’s press secretary, Katie Miller, tested positive for Covid-19. Her diagnosis came a day after one of Trump’s personal valets tested positive. A senior official told NBC News at the time that Pence would distance himself from other people for a few days.