Despite numerous cautions from medical experts—including those on his staff—President Donald Trump continues to tout hydroxychloroquine as a promising treatment for the virus that's brought daily life in the United States to a standstill.
The drug has undergone no clinical trials to scientifically test its efficacy on the virus, and the evidence on its behalf is anecdotal at best. One Fox News guest, Access Health International Chairman William Haseltine, called it a "quack cure."
The drug, primarily used for malaria and lupus, is now facing a shortage that potentially jeopardizes the health and safety of those who need it, thanks to a surge in demand after the President's numerous endorsements.
But why is the President, who has no related experience in medicine or pandemics, so dead set on promoting this drug?
A new report from the New York Times may give some insight.
The piece details the medical community's divided reaction to Trump's promotion of hydroxychloroquine, but it also mentions the financial stake the Trump family holds in the drug's success.
The report states:
"Mr. Trump himself has a small personal financial interest in Sanofi, the French drugmaker that makes Plaquenil, the brand-name version of hydroxychloroquine."
According to the Times, as recently as last year, the President reported three family trusts in a mutual fund whose largest investment was in Sanofi—the maker of Plaquenil.
Trump's attempts to profit from the Presidency are nothing new, so—sadly—people weren't surprised.
It's possible that Trump didn't know these mutual funds held some stock in Sanofi, and a spokesperson for the company says it no longer distributes Plaquenil to the United States, but the financial stake in it extends deeper into Trump's web.
The billionaire and staunch Republican Ken Fisher—a donor to Trump—is one of Sanofi's largest shareholders. Secretary of Commerce Wilbur Ross owned a company which invested in Sanofi as well.
Some speculate that Trump is, yet again, using the presidency for profit—even in a pandemic.