Federal MP Craig Kelly is using his massive platform and political sway to promote Hydroxychloroquine, an anti-malarial drug that’s been peddled as a coronavirus cure by conspiracy theorists and US President Donald Trump, despite the fact it’s unproven against COVID-19 and may be downright unsafe for that purpose.
For background, the Australian Theraputic Goods Association has not approved the drug for COVID-19 patients. It says there’s no evidence that it works, while the potential risks include heart attack, irreversible eye damage, and severe blood sugar depletion which could lead to a coma.
Kelly seems unfazed by this.
“There is a special place in hell awaiting those that have been part of the war on Hydroxychloroquine for poltical [sic] reasons,” he wrote on Facebook yesterday morning (at 2:12 AM because real conspiracy hours, who TF up).
“They have the blood of tens of thousands on their hands. Together with censorship of medical opinions is one of the greatest scandals in history.”
He then went on to share a Newsweek opinion piece (as opposed to a straight news article) by Harvey A. Risch, a Professor of Epidemiology at Yale who’s been promoting the drug.
The only problem is, the Yale School of Public Health has actually come out and and highlighted the fact that Risch’s opinion pieces and research are inconsistent with mainstream advice put out by the US FDA. Other publications have called the studies upon which Risch bases his claims “questionable”.
It’s the latest in a series of increasingly unhinged posts about Hydroxychloroquine from Kelly.
A few hours earlier, he wrote: “COULD THE VICTORIAN PREMIER (and others) FACE 25 YEARS IN JAIL FOR CONTINUING TO BAN HYDROXYCHLOROQUINE?”
The answer is, of course, no, but that didn’t stop Kelly from calling out “Trump Derangement Sydndrome”.
Since yesterday, Kelly’s posted 9 boomer-esque rants about the drug on his official Facebook page. He’s continued posting his way through the media storm, well into the early hours of this morning, too.
It’s hard to take Kelly’s personal investment in Hydroxychloroquine seriously because, judging from his previous posts, the man simply jumps on whatever right-wing culture war issue is the flavour of the month and beats the dead horse into a gluey pulp.
Climate change, Captain Cook, fucking Paw Patrol – you name it, and Kelly’s probably posted a boomer meme about it. When it comes to Hydroxychloroquine, Kelly seems to have started posting about it at the beginning of July, months after even Trump had begun to gradually shut up about it.
“It should be up to a doctor, and the patient themselves whether to prescribe the drug or not,” Kelly told The New Daily on Monday. Kelly is not a doctor.
The problem with all this uninformed grandstanding is that it’s dangerous. In the US, one man fatally overdosed on fish tank cleaner after believing what Trump said about Hydroxychloroquine.
Kelly has almost 50,000 followers on Facebook, and his countless Hydroxychloroquine posts regularly get thousands of likes and hundreds of shares.
Opposition Health Spokesperson Chris Bowen dismissed Kelly’s posts as “conspiracy theories”, however government MP Andrew Laming, who previously worked as a GP and in health policy, defended Kelly’s right to question the current drug policy on Q+A last night.
Obviously, everyone wants the pandemic to be over regardless of politics. Perhaps the best course of action is simply to stay at home, wear a mask, and shut the fuck up about Hydroxychloroquine.Image: Facebook / @CraigKellyMP | Getty Images / Sam Mooney