Reports soon came in that increased off-label prescribing could cause a shortage, and Australia's Department of Health introduced new restrictions on who could initiate therapy.
Vice President Mike Pence, whose press secretary has contracted the coronavirus, told Fox News in an interview he is not taking the drug.
"He's our president and I would rather he not be taking something that has not been approved by the scientists, especially in his age group and in his, shall we say, weight group - morbidly obese, they say", she said. The president, though, in his infinite and unique wisdom and knowledge of medicine, now tells us that he has been taking it daily as a preventive measure and the White House physician has demeaned himself by issuing a letter supporting this alleged action.
The COPCOV team said laboratory evidence showed the anti-malarial drugs might be effective in preventing or treating COVID-19 but there was no conclusive proof.
The human guinea pigs taking part include frontline healthcare workers at high risk of exposure to the virus, as well as patients.
But, he said, a randomised controlled trial such as this one, where neither the participant nor the researchers know who has been given the drug or a placebo, was the best way to find out.
"The COVID-19 pandemic has presented many challenges for public health advocates and health professionals across the world". The White House doctor referenced the fact that Trump's valet had tested positive for the virus.
'Hard scientific evidence from large-scale clinical trials is essential.
In 2006, the FDA warned against off-label use of the drug to treat leg cramps, writing, "Fatalities and renal insufficiency requiring hemodialysis have been reported".
"We need to exercise extreme caution here". But as with any drug and as with any prescription, it should be given by a doctor to a patient in that context.
"Some studies have also indicated an elevated risk of serious adverse effects like cardiac arrest".
Healthcare workers who have had COVID-19 or an acute respiratory infection are not allowed to enroll.
When asked about the President's comments, Hernandez said that prior to these trials "there were likely health care workers before that were taking hydroxychloroquine". "I think it gives you an additional level of safety", Trump has said. "And I'll stay on it for a little while longer. But it seems to be very safe".
"I'm like, "How can I be sick? How?"
The US Food and Drug Administration warned against use of the medication outside hospitals, where the agency has granted temporary authorisation for its use in some cases, or clinical trials.
Dr. Stephen Griffin, associate professor in the school of medicine at the University of Leeds, also said those that follow Trump's example might not only endanger themselves, "but could also deprive patients with chronic autoimmune conditions of their much-needed medication". Everybody was old, had bad problems with hearts, diabetes, and everything else you can imagine.