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ETHICISTS BLAST SPECIAL TREATMENT FOR TRUMP BY DOCS

The special treatment President Donald Trump received to access an experimental COVID-19 drug raises fairness issues that start with the flawed health care system many Americans endure and end with the public’s right to know more about his condition, ethics and medical experts say, Marilynn Marchione reported for the Associated Press (AP).

Regeneron Pharmaceuticals Inc. revealed on Tuesday how rare it was for anyone to get the drug it gave Trump outside of studies testing its safety and effectiveness. The drug, which supplies antibodies to help the immune system clear the coronavirus, is widely viewed as very promising. Trump also received the antiviral remdesivir and the steroid dexamethasone, and it’s impossible to know whether any of these drugs did him any good. “He deserves special treatment by virtue of his office,” said George Annas, who heads Boston University’s center for law and health ethics. “The question is whether it’s good treatment.”


These drugs are unproven for mild illness and have not been tested in combination. The steroid seems at odds with medical guidelines based on what doctors have said about the severity of his illness. “The public is getting mixed messages about his condition and that’s a problem,” Annas said, adding that there’s a right to know anything that could affect Trump’s ability to do his job. Trump’s doctors asked for the Regeneron drug under “compassionate use” rules, which allow a patient with a life-threatening disease to get an experimental medicine if they can’t enroll in a study testing it and there’s no good alternative. 


Trump was given the drug at the White House on Friday before he was taken to Walter Reed National Military Medical Center. Walter Reed is not a site where the drug is being tested, so he may have met that criterion on technical grounds. Had he enrolled in a study, he would have risked being randomly assigned to a comparison group getting usual care rather than getting the drug.





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