The Bureau of Prisons just bought $60,000 worth of hydroxychloroquine it's an unproven treatment


Associated Press/John Locher

  • The Bureau of Prisons placed an order for $60,000 worth of hydroxychloroquine sulfate tablets in March, federal spending records show.

  • A Bureau of Prisons spokesperson told Insider the drugs were intended to treat COVID-19 patients.

  • The novel coronavirus has been spreading rapidly throughout federal prisons, and the BOP reported Monday that eight inmates have died so far, and at least 195 have tested positive.

  • The Trump administration has vigorously talked up hydroxychloroquine as a potential COVID-19 treatment or prophylactic, though no large-scale clinical trials have proven that it is effective.

  • The nation's top infectious-disease expert, Dr. Anthony Fauci has repeatedly warned that there is not yet enough evidence showing the drug can treat or prevent the virus.

  • Visit Insider's homepage for more stories.

The agency that oversees the nation's federal prisons and jails has placed a $60,000 order for the drug hydroxychloroquine, the anti-malarial medication some doctors have been using to treat the novel coronavirus, according to federal spending records.

The records show that the Bureau of Prisons placed the order for 200-milligram tablets of hydroxychloroquine sulfate on March 31 from the company Premium Rx National. The Daily Beast was first to report on the records.

A BOP spokesperson told Insider the purchase was made "for treatment of COVID-19."

The agency later told Insider in a statement that the drug is currently only being used for patients who have returned from local hospitals and have been prescribed hydroxychloroquine.

"At present, the CDC gives no recommendations on the routine initiation of hydroxychloroquine for the treatment of patients infected with COVID-19 in the outpatient setting," the statement said. "For patients that are returning from the local hospital and have been prescribed hydroxychloroquine in accordance with the FDA Emergency Use Authorization we are completing the hydroxychloroquine treatment."

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