Israeli Company to Donate 6 Million Tablets of Drug to U.S. That Could Help Against Coronavirus

March 20, 2020
JERUSALEM, ISRAEL – MARCH 10: (ISRAEL OUT) Teva Pharmaceuticals workers pack drugs in a clean room at the company’s manufacturing plant March 10, 2008 in Jerusalem. Teva is regarded as the world’s largest generic drug maker. (Photo by Uriel Sinai/Getty Images)

The Israeli pharmaceutical company Teva announced in a March 20 press release that it is donating more than 6 million tablets of a drug that could potentially treat coronavirus to the United States.

The 6 million tablets of hydroxychloroquine will be sent to the U.S. by March 31 and at least an additional 4 million tablets during April.

Teva North American Commercial Executive Vice President Brendan O’Grady said in a statement, “We are committed to helping to supply as many tablets as possible as demand for this treatment accelerates at no cost. Immediately upon learning of the potential benefit of hydroxychloroquine, Teva began to assess supply and to urgently acquire additional ingredients to make more product while arranging for all of what we had to be distributed immediately.”

The American Jewish Committee tweeted, “Thank you, Israeli pharmaceutical company Teva, for prioritizing human lives during this pandemic! #BeAMensch”

Hydroxychloroquine, also known as plaquenil, typically has been used to treat malaria and autoimmune diseases like arthritis and lupus. Its possible side effects include upset stomach and possible damage to vision down the road.

The China Academy of Sciences in Wuhan wrote in a March 18 report that its experiments with the drug show that “it has good potential to combat the disease.” Twenty coronavirus patients in France were treated with the drug and 70% tested negative for the virus in six days. Six of those patients took hydroxychloroquine with azithromycin — an antibiotic — and all six tested negative at the end of six days, according to the New York Post.

President Donald Trump said on March 19 that the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) will be fast-tracking hydroxychloroquine for approval to patients in need of treatment.  National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases Director Dr. Anthony Fauci cautioned on March 20 that the research on hydroxychloroquine and coronavirus so far has been anecdotal and the drug therapy needs to be tested on a larger scale through clinical trials.

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