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New Jersey's Amneal Pharmaceuticals donated 50,000 tablets of hydroxychloroquine to test in fight against novel coronavirus.

COURTESY PHOTO: THE LUND REPORT - Oregon has received 50,000 tablets of hydroxychloroquine donated by a New Jersey company.Oregon has received a donation of an experimental drug that may aid the fight against COVID-19.

New Jersey-based Amneal Pharmaceuticals donated 50,000 tablets of hydroxychloroquine that arrived in Oregon on Tuesday, April 14.

The drug, heavily touted by President Donald Trump as a possible remedy for COVID-19, offers no certainty, and it could harm some patients. But some overwhelmed hospitals are willing to try it, given that there is no cure in sight for the virus. Supplies of the drug are tight because hydroxychloroquine is traditionally used to treat other conditions, including lupus and rheumatoid arthritis.

State officials confirmed Thursday, April 16, that Oregon had received the shipment. There is no guarantee that Oregon will use the drug in experimental treatments for COVID-19 patients. At this point, Oregon officials seem more inclined toward using the supply to help people with other medical conditions who are facing drug shortages. Jake Sunderland, a spokesman with the Oregon COVID-19 Joint Information Center, said research into the drug's effects on COVID-19 is still too preliminary for a recommendation for broad COVID-19 treatment. The limited supply of this drug has hurt patient access for other needs like rheumatoid arthritis and lupus, he said.

"This supply could assist those who are having trouble accessing the medication for these types of uses," Sunderland said in an email.

He did not answer a question about whether the new supply will be used for experimental treatments of COVID-19 patients. Sunderland said the state is working on a plan that will prioritize requests for the drug from providers.

The Oregon Health Authority came out against the drug in a tweet on Wednesday, telling people to avoid taking it and five other substances as a treatment for coronavirus.

This Lund Report story is shared as part of a local media project to increase COVID-19 news coverage.

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