March 19, 2020 / 6:43 PM / 11 days ago

EXCLUSIVE-Potential coronavirus treatment touted by Trump already in shortage -pharmacists

NEW YORK, March 19 (Reuters) - Supply of a malaria treatment that has been tried with some success against the new coronavirus is in short supply as demand surges amid the fast-spreading outbreak, according to independent pharmacies and the American Society of Health-System Pharmacists (ASHP).

The ASHP, which maintains a list of drugs in shortage independent of the U.S. Food and Drug Administration’s list, plans to add the generic malaria drug hydroxychloroquine to its list of shortages later on Thursday, according to Erin Fox, senior director of drug information at University of Utah Health, who maintains the shortages list for the ASHP.

The FDA could not be immediately reached for comment, but hydroxychloroquine is not currently on its list of drugs in shortage.

U.S. President Donald Trump on Thursday called on U.S. health regulators to expedite potential therapies aimed at treating COVID-19 for which there is no approved treatments or vaccines.

He said the government was looking at hydroxychloroquine and Gilead Sciences Inc’s experimental antiviral drug Remdesivir, which is undergoing clinical trials for the respiratory illness.

Reporting by Michael Erman Editing by Bill Berkrot

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