The irrational fear of a cheap, effective drug/ Dr X in The Quadrant
 Words are very powerful. They can incite hatred and violence. They can provide reassurance and hope.  They can incite fear and dread. We have not heard many reassuring and hopeful ones this year, but maybe that is about to change. The truth is coming to light, and that is perhaps the most important issue at stake:  Truth. Public policy, affecting the lives of every person in society now and into the future, should be informed by truth.
Well here are some of those truths: COVID-19 is an extremely infectious virus that can make you very ill and might even kill you. It might also leave you with debility, pain, fatigue and seriously compromised health. It spreads rapidly in aged-care facilities with devastating outcomes.
Now here are some less palatable truths: Doctors who have successfully treated this virus have been dismissed as cranks who don’t follow “the science”. Worse, they have been denied access to the very drug that could save lives.
This last point needs to be stressed because the drug is hydroxycholoroquine – a cheap, effective, off-patent medication. Numerous papers from around the world — the number of positive appraisals grows almost by the day — are documenting its effectiveness against this virus. Used in conjunction with zinc and an antibiotic it has stopped the progress of the virus. Patients administered the drug early in the course of the infection exhibit less severe symptoms and regain their health more quickly.
Why the war against a medication any reasonable person might regard as a godsend?
On April 29, 2020, the Victorian government “restricted the sale or supply or use of the poison or controlled substance Hydroxychloroquine under section 55(2) of the Drugs, Poisons and Controlled Substances Act 1981 for a period of twelve weeks.”
There is no clinical evidence that hydroxychloroquine is effective prophylaxis against  coronavirus
Hydroxychloroquine is in short supply and should be prioritised for use in recognised           indications including autoimmune conditions and Q-fever endocarditis.
The Pharmaceutical Society of Australia (PSA) have advised pharmacists to refuse the dispensing of hydroxychloroquine unless it is for a recognised indication.
Let us look at the underlined assertions one by one.
No clinical evidence?
Not so, says Dr Harvey Risch, professor of epidemiology at Yale School of Public Health.
Hydroxychloroquine is in short supply.
Clive Palmer provided 30 million doses of Hydroxychloroquine to add to the Australian stockpile.
PSA has advised pharmacists to refuse the dispensing of hydroxychloroquine.
So, should pharmacists enjoy the right to vet and veto what a doctor prescribes in consultation with his or her patient? Not according to the Australian Medical Association:
“Doctors are the only health professionals trained to fully assess a person, initiate further investigations, make a diagnosis, and understand the full range of clinically appropriate treatments for a given condition, including when to prescribe and, importantly, when not to prescribe medicines,” [AMA President, Dr Tony] Dr Bartone said.
“The AMA urges all governments to ensure that patient care is not fragmented, misdirected, or delayed by prescribing models that do not align with the AMA’s Standards.”
On August 3, carried an item, Record Imports of dodgy COVID cures, which I cite as but one example of the official misinformation being fed to, and regurgitated by, unquestioning journalists:
Hydroxychloroquine can cause cardiac toxicity, which can lead to sudden heart attacks, irreversible eye damage, and severe depletion of blood sugar, which can lead to coma.
The media misrepresented this drug – at no time has it been recommended that people self-medicate. The treatment protocol has always been that it be made available only under medical supervision, as with any prescription medication.
The Victorian government has effectively prevented people with Coronavirus from accessing potentially life saving treatment. It has done so, not to put too fine a point on its conduct, by telling flat-out lies.
The Premier has told Victorians “there is no vaccine for this wildly infectious virus” so we will just have to stay at home, inside, isolated and masked until the virus goes away or we get a vaccine. 
There you have it: No treatment allowed. No vaccine available. Catastrophic social and economic shutdown.
Why the full-court press against hydroxychloroquine?
Here is a further fact to ponder: It is cheap and the new anti-virals are not cheap.
Remdesivir, on-patent and surrounded by much favourable publicity when first cast as the silver bullet against COVID-19, lists at US$3120 per treatment (US$390 per vial). Alas for manufacturer Gilead’s corporate bottom line,  its bally-hooed COVID-19 ‘remedy’ has not proven effective.
So a vaccine is needed and fast. Manufacturers in the US, UK and some other countries enjoy complete legal protection against litigation for vaccine damage.
Any fast-tracked vaccine which is not adequately tested for safety and efficacy prior to administration, and for which the manufacturer has full legal immunity against any damages claims, should be regarded with great concern. It should not be mandatory for citizens to have this vaccine, as Prime Minister Scott Morrison said in an unguardedly candid moment before backing away from it.
When you follow the developments of 2020, it seems that our greatest fear should be of the governments and bureaucracies that lie to us, confine us to our homes, shut down our businesses and destroy our livelihoods, tear our families apart, turn our nursing homes into institutions of incarceration for the elderly, mandate mask-wearing and threaten us with a vaccine that would never pass any ethics approval process.
It is time to start hearing the truth.
Dr X is a Melbourne GP with 36 years in practice. He has chosen anonymity because this is Victoria, where residents must now live according to the whim and wish of Premier Daniel Andrews.
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