Hydroxychloroquine was claimed to be a "magic bullet," that was expected to be a potential drug for the Coronavirus patients and show remarkable results within hours. But recent reports from all around the world revealed how dangerous this drug could be after researchers applied it on COVID-19 patients.
San Diego physician Jennings Staley, whose practice includes Botox injections, tattoo removal, oxygen therapy and fat transfer, on his website while advertising Hydroxychloroquine he cited US President Donald Trump's recent promotion of a French study claiming this drug had overwhelmingly positive results in the fight against COVID-19. Now, as per the reports, the doctor is facing criminals charges.
Criminal complaint against Jennings Staley
The federal authorities said that the comments made by Staley about the anti-malaria drug hydroxychloroquine's remarkable capabilities were recorded during a phone call with the father of three who wanted to know how he can protect his family from being infected by the deadly virus. But the man over the phone was an FBI agent who conducted this operation to track down healthcare frauds.
As reported by CNN, a federal complaint was filed on Thursday, April 16. As per the complaint FBI launched an undercover operation and contacted the doctor in early April after receiving a tip from the public indicating Staley was attempting to sell "COVID-19 Treatment Packs" to the public. FBI saw advertising the email message where the medical package introduced by Staley include dosages of hydroxychloroquine, antibacterial drug Azithromycin, antianxiety treatments, intravenous drips, and the use of a medical hyperbaric oxygen chamber. As per the criminal complaint, he also offered to sell these items for $3,995.
FBI operation to find a fraud
During the undercover operation, the FBI agent acted like a customer to whom Staley claimed that the hydroxychloroquine "cures the disease" associated with the Coronavirus. He also revealed that he recently received a tank of this drug which had been smuggled from China by tricking the US Customs and Border Protection by listing the material as sweet potato extract.
Later, the FBI agent asked the accused doctor "If I'm hearing you right, if I buy these kits from you, then that's going to pretty much guarantee that neither my kids, my dad, my wife -- any of us -- get sick. And if we are, it's going to cure us, right?" in response, Staley said "guaranteed."
During another follow-up call, the doctor told the agent that he would also sell him Viagra and Xanax which is a Category IV controlled substance under the Controlled Substances Act and on April 9, a package containing the medication reached to the agent.
After the medicine delivery, FBI agents visited Staley's office for an interview asked the doctor whether he had prescribed hydroxychloroquine to his patients while mentioning as a cure for the Coronavirus. In response, he said "No, that would be foolish," and mentioned that "We would never say anything like that."
Staley's website, which offered COVID-19 treatment kits for $595, has been taken down. As per the further investigation, on the website it was written that "a French study cited by Trump showed 70 percent of the hydroxychloroquine treated patients tested negative for the COVID-19 virus." He was charged for mail fraud in Federal court.
Use of hydroxychloroquine
However, here it should be mentioned that a new study revealed evidence that the highly popular drug, hydroxychloroquine does not apparently treat patients with COVID 19, health experts in Brazil, as well as Sweden, sounded the alarm against the use of similar drug chloroquine.
Even doctors in Sweden's Vastra Gotaland are no longer administering the medication. The decision was taken after a number of patients in Sweden hospitals reported suffering cramps, peripheral vision loss and migraines within days of being prescribed the chloroquine tablets.
Meanwhile, the drug received emergency authorization from the Food and Drug Administration (FDA). In the FDA's March 28 authorization letter, the agency's chief scientist mentioned that this medicine would be distributed from the nation's Strategic National Stockpile, and used for treating those who have been hospitalized with COVID-19.