Ron DeSantis: Israeli hydroxychloroquine combating coronavirus

Gov's Israel connection helps source meds.

In a media availability Monday, Gov. Ron DeSantis confirmed that Israeli-sourced hydroxychloroquine is already being used in South Florida hospitals.

The hope is that hydroxychloroquine, approved for treatment of arthritis, lupus, and malaria, works off label, as a “right to try” medicine for those without other medical recourse.

The Governor said Saturday the drug would be sent to hot spots for COVID-19, including Dade, Broward, Hillsborough and Orange counties.

The Governor noted Saturday that it is being used in New York, and offered anecdotal evidence of a “Floridian in very bad shape” who “used it and it seemed to clear up the lungs and the virus.”

“I’m not a doctor. I’m not telling anyone to take it or not to take it,” DeSantis added. “This is just something that doctors may have at their disposal.”

The Times of Israel reports that the initial donation to American hospitals will be 6 million pills.

“We are committed to helping to supply as many tablets as possible as demand for this treatment accelerates at no cost,” said Brendan O’Grady, Teva executive vice president, North America Commercial.

“Immediately upon learning of the potential benefit of hydroxychloroquine,” O’Grady said Teva “began to assess supply and to urgently acquire additional ingredients to make more product while arranging for all of what we had to be distributed immediately.”

DeSantis credited U.S. Ambassador David Friedman for helping to source the medicine from Teva Pharmaceuticals in Israel.

For DeSantis, the coronavirus crisis brought into play a relationship prized by the Governor, prioritized in 2019 with an Enterprise Florida trade mission to Tel Aviv and Jerusalem.

Friedman, as the Tallahassee Democrat reported, said “Israel has no greater friend in all the 50 governor’s mansions than Ron DeSantis.”

The venue was the Ambassador’s Residence in Tel Aviv, where Gov. DeSantis was guest of honor at a dinner where top-shelf wine and food was served up, a veritable banquet feast.

The event was a capstone of a week in Israel, where DeSantis and Florida officials signed memoranda of understanding on issues ranging from academic partnerships to collaborations in space and emergency management.

Beyond the hydroxychloroquine haul, some good news on the Israel front on testing also.

DeSantis also divulged Saturday that DEM head Jared Moskowitz sourced 2,000 tests from an Israeli company, and those tests are headed to South Florida and Duval County.

Abbott Laboratories will also produce 50,000 rapid tests a day, and DeSantis said that Florida had put in on those too.

A.G. Gancarski

A.G. Gancarski has written for since 2014. He is based in Northeast Florida. He can be reached at [email protected] or on Twitter: @AGGancarski


  • Marlene

    March 28, 2020 at 4:16 pm

    The Governor noted that it is being used in New York, and offered anecdotal evidence of a “Floridian in very bad shape” who “used it and it seemed to clear up the lungs and the virus.”

    Anecdotal evidence Is not scientific evidence. This is the kind of moronic statement that kills people.

    • Thomas Knapp

      March 28, 2020 at 4:46 pm

      Scientific evidence is something you develop over a fairly long time-span.

      If people are dying and something works anecdotally when nothing else works at all, you start using it immediately, see if the anecdote keeps repeating itself, and let the science catch up as fast as it can.

      • David

        March 28, 2020 at 6:29 pm

        Or maybe you die. Get serious.

        • Thomas Knapp

          March 28, 2020 at 6:39 pm

          That IS getting serious.

          When you have to amputate or the patient will die, but you have no anesthesia, you amputate without anesthesia.

          When you have to treat or the patient will die and all you have is something you’re not sure of, you treat with it.

          It’s odd how many people are running around in circles screaming that the sky is falling and the Earth has to stop turning RIGHT NOW and everyone else has to hide under the bed too because it’s an EMERGENCY — then say “get serious” when anyone suggests that there’s not time for 18 months of clinical trials because the patients have days to live.

      • Violet

        March 29, 2020 at 1:00 am

        Good word!

  • Sonja Fitch

    March 28, 2020 at 5:09 pm

    Desantis. Wtf. Why did you deny access to Miami heard and Tampa times. You scum what are you hiding? How folks are really dead because you are a stupid trumper! Get out Desantis

    • Corbin Supak

      March 28, 2020 at 11:46 pm

      Agreed, this erodes trust even more, that’s as big an enemy as the virus

  • K.

    March 30, 2020 at 7:56 pm

    Shame on you Governor! You should have shut Florida down like other states have done. Those pills could have been used for other patients. But no, you said I am not shutting it down and college kids from all over enjoyed spring break on the beaches. Now I can’t get my medicine for a condition it is proven to help.

Comments are closed.


Florida Politics is a statewide, new media platform covering campaigns, elections, government, policy, and lobbying in Florida. This platform and all of its content are owned by Extensive Enterprises Media.

Publisher: Peter Schorsch @PeterSchorschFL

Contributors & reporters: Phil Ammann, Roseanne Dunkelberger, A.G. Gancarski, Anne Geggis, Ryan Nicol, Jacob Ogles, Cole Pepper, Gray Rohrer, Jesse Scheckner, Christine Sexton, Drew Wilson, and Mike Wright.

Email: [email protected]
Twitter: @PeterSchorschFL
Phone: (727) 642-3162
Address: 204 37th Avenue North #182
St. Petersburg, Florida 33704

Sign up for Sunburn