True to his word, Clive Palmers’ Palmer Foundation has bought over 32,900,000 doses of hydroxychloroquine. Millions of doses of the drug have already arrived in Australia. The Palmer Foundation has already paid for the drug in the form of tablets and bulk pharmaceuticals.
The Palmer Foundation has donated the drug to the Australian Government to be placed on the National Medical Stockpile so it may be made available free to all Australians.
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.
On the 2 April 2020, Australia’s Minister for Health, Greg Hunt announced hydroxychloroquine would be made available if doctors wish to use it to treat COVID-19 patients who are in Australian hospitals. Since that time, Australia’s death rate from COVID-19 has been the lowest in the world and the curve has flattened. Mr Hunt also congratulated Mr Palmer for the steps he was then taking to acquire hydroxychloroquine internationally, paying for the effort with his own money.
On 2 April 2020, Caroline Edwards, Acting Secretary for the Department of Health, as a delegate of the Minister for Health, established the Therapeutic Goods (Medicines— Hydroxychloroquine and Chloroquine) (COVID-19 Emergency) Exemption 2020. The exemption allowed the Palmer Foundation to make the acquisitions for the sole purpose of donating all drugs acquired for the free use of the Australian people.
“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.
“The Health Minister Greg 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.”
Mr Palmer said that he believed that hydroxychloroquine was the best hope for those suffering COVID-19. He said that while all Australians had played a critical role in containing the virus, they had to remain vigilant that a second wave did not destroy the economic fabric of the nation and Australian lives.
“The tablets we have acquired have a shelf life of three years and the bulk materials longer,’’ Mr Palmer said.
“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 autoimmune diseases over the last 40 years will not have any difficulty in acquiring the drug.”
Mr Palmer said it was critical that the drug remained available in hospitals for those who needed it to treat COVID-19 and was available to the Australian community when required.
“If we had not moved in early March when we did, we would have lost our opportunity,’’ he said.
“At this time of national crisis in our country, all Australians must do whatever they can to help their fellow Australians.
“I want all Australians who have done well in this country to remember their fellow Australians and the sacrifices that have been made by previous generations and dig deep to support all efforts necessary to defeat this threat to our lives and our livelihood,’’ Mr Palmer said.