Trump interferes, twice, with Iowa veteran’s mail prescription
President Donald Trump has offered conflicting statements about supplementary funding for the U.S. Postal Service.
The delays in the postal system are deeply concerning and put my health at risk. And the changes to the post office just add insult to injury when it comes to this medicine.
President Donald Trump’s attacks on the postal service are personal. I have a condition called dermatomyositis, an autoimmune disease that causes my body to attack my skin and muscles. Left untreated, the disease can lead to discomfort, weakness, or other serious health complications.
To treat it, I receive a 30-day supply of Plaquenil, which I receive through the mail from the Veterans Affairs Department. Like millions of other people, I rely on the mail for my medicines to be delivered on time.
But recently, new delays in postal delivery mean my 30-day supply of Plaquenil is taking two weeks to reach me. As a result, I’ve been forced to ration my medicine while I wait for my refills to arrive a full week later than they used to.
The delays in the postal system, implemented by a postmaster general who seems more interested in supporting the president’s re-election than delivering for people who depend on the mail for lifesaving drugs, are deeply concerning and put my health at risk.
The changes to the post office just add insult to injury when it comes to this medicine. As it happens, Plaquenil is a brand name version of hydroxychloroquine, the drug Trump has been irresponsibly hyping as a treatment for COVID-19. After the president started promoting his own use of hydroxychloroquine, shortages of the drug led to my usual three-month supply getting reduced to only 30 days. The American Medical Association and disease groups wrote public letters cautioning that the promotion of hydroxychloroquine would lead to these shortages and could potentially endanger patients who need the medicine, like me.
Despite President Trump’s thoughts, drug and disease experts seem to agree that hydroxychloroquine is not a proven preventative measure for COVID-19.
Although doctors and scientists have debunked the use of hydroxychloroquine for COVID-19, and the FDA rescinded its approval of the drug for treating coronavirus because of the risks to patients, Trump continues to insist that it’s a “game-changing” treatment, even promoting it at the Republican National Convention.
Despite what the president says, hydroxychloroquine is not a drug without safety issues or side effects. I have taken it for a long time and developed chronic kidney disease as a result. I take it because the alternative could be worse: I would be in a wheelchair or bedridden without it. But anyone who can avoid that kind of side effect should.
But even the risk of death from hydroxychloroquine has not deterred Trump from encouraging people from taking a drug that doesn’t work, could hurt them and harm others.
Of course, that’s what we’ve come to expect from the president.
For three and half years we’ve heard his big talk about lowering drug prices, without any actual changes that would stop the drug corporations from charging us whatever they want. He insists he’s saving us money while our drug prices keep going up, rising over 5% in 2020.
Trump should not be giving Americans medical advice that could actually hurt them. He should listen to his own experts about how to tackle COVID. And he should keep his hands off our mail.
Dan Callahan lives in Independence. He is a U.S. Army and National Guard veteran.
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