Palmer secures huge COVID-19 drug haul

CLIVE Palmer has snapped up almost 40 million doses of a malaria drug in the fight against the coronavirus.

The Queensland-based billionaire will today reveal he has donated them to the national stockpile.

With a shelf-like of three years, the hydroxychloroquine tablets could be used in the fight against the deadly disease as the world waits for a vaccine, Mr Palmer said.

 

The Courier-Mail revealed earlier this month that Mr Palmer was using his connections and wealth to buy the drug, which is being harvested by countries using it for clinical trials.

Businessman Clive Palmer will donate 40 million doses of hydroxychloroquine to the national stockpile. Picture: Dan Peled/AAP
Businessman Clive Palmer will donate 40 million doses of hydroxychloroquine to the national stockpile. Picture: Dan Peled/AAP

Mr Palmer said Health Minister Greg Hunt said this month the drug would be made available to doctors who wanted to use the drug to treat COVID-19 patients.

"Since that time, Australia's death rate from COVID-19 has been the lowest in the world and the curve has flattened," Mr Palmer said.

"In the United States of America, President Trump has confirmed the country had 29,000,000 doses of the drug on its national medical stockpile to be available to 330 million Americans."

He said the Federal Health Department provided the Palmer Foundation with an exemption to buy the drug and donate it to the national stockpile.

"The Australian Government has done a great job in protecting and defending the Australian people in this time of national crisis. In particular, the Prime Minister has showed the calm leadership necessary to guide the nation in troubled times," Mr Palmer said.

"(Mr) Hunt had shown exceptional courage and dedication for filling his role and his performance as health minister was just what any doctor would have ordered.

"The tablets we have acquired have a shelf life of three years and the bulk materials longer.

"A vaccine may take many years to develop and Australia has to be ready to provide the best treatment for its citizens should the worst occur. The small contribution that I have made will assist Australia in getting back on its feet sooner.

"The challenge now facing all Australians is to save our country's economy and restore employment and prosperity to all.

"I am happy that the quick action we took in early March to secure hydroxychloroquine for Australia has been successful. It is important that Australians that have been using the drug to treat malaria, lupus and auto-immune diseases over the last 40 years will not have any difficulty in acquiring the drug."

Originally published as Palmer secures huge COVID-19 drug haul


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