The United States government through the Strategic National Stockpile has sent out about 20 million tablets of hydroxychloroquine, the malaria drug that some doctors have prescribed to Covid-19 patients.
The shipments are heading to New York city, Washington, DC, Baltimore, Baton Rouge; St. Louis; Philadelphia; Baltimore; Miami; Milwaukee; Indianapolis; Houston and Pittsburgh, Detroit, New Orleans and Chicago.
About 10.1 million are going to the Departments of Defense and Veterans Affairs, said a spokesperson for the U.S Federal Emergency Management Agency.
Erin Fox, senior director of Drug Information and Support Services at the University of Utah College of Pharmacy, said most courses of hydroxychloroquine treatment for Covid-19 take 12 to 14 tablets. So the shipments will cover treatment for about 1.4 million patients.
U.S Administration officials have stressed that the choice of using hydroxychloroquine, which is often combined with other drugs such as azithromycin, is a matter between doctors and their patients.
But some medical experts have raised concerns about widespread use of the drug, which can have dangerous side effects under some circumstances.