The difference between a drug used for Malaria and Fish Bowl Cleaner

Media reporting is beyond irresponsible and dishonest. “Man dies after taking malaria medication touted by Trump as possible cure for coronavirus” http://hill.cm/LsGyetJ
 
People, the man did not take the malaria medication hydroxychloroquine, which Trump did not suggest should be taken without a doctor’s oversight, obviously. He took FISH BOWL CLEANER (chloroquine phosphate). The fish bowl cleaner is clearly labeled that it is a poison not to be ingested by humans. The couple took it in a massive overdose in order to prevent getting the China virus, not to treat it (and it wouldn’t have mattered, since it wasn’t the same thing).  This is not Trump’s fault.
 
On the other hand, I don’t think we could find a clearer metric by which to assess the news you are getting. If you read any article about this that doesn’t make it clear the couple deliberately ingested fish bowl cleaner and that it is not the same thing, then you know you are reading an ill informed rag with a bizarre agenda, and that agenda is not to report accurate news. Act accordingly. The one above is ridiculous.
This one is just slightly slanted, but does contain enough accurate information to work with (it has been in use in other countries to treat the China virus, so there’s reason to be hopeful): https://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-8144449/Man-dies-wife-critical-care-took-fish-tank-cleaner-cure-coronavirus.html
 
NBC news has since changed their story (without noting the changes in their reporting), but initially, reporter Heidi Pryzbyla of NBC actually claimed the couple took the same drug Trump talked about and failed to mention the couple took fish tank cleaner in order to prevent themselves from getting sick (which isn’t what Trump said about it, either). https://twitter.com/HeidiNBC/status/1242238268277755905
Another news outlet correctly reported the name of the fish bowl cleaner (chloroquine phosphate), but didn’t explain that it wasn’t the malaria drug- and they included a photograph of the malaria drug bottle, which wasn’t what the couple took.  By coupling the photo of drug A with the mention of drug B and not making a distinction, they have dishonestly communcated that they are the same.

Among the absolutely dishonest reporting we can include Daily Beast, Forbes, New York Post, Business Insider.

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2 Comments

  1. Frances
    Posted March 25, 2020 at 4:34 pm | Permalink

    I once worked for a mail order company, and we agonized over making promotions absolutely foolproof. Then off they went into the world and we took bets how many ways people would find to misunderstand them.

    I hope you and the Cherub are keeping well!

  2. Nick
    Posted March 27, 2020 at 5:58 am | Permalink

    Fantastic work.

    My training is not in Chemistry, so I’ve been curious about the prefix/suffix “hydroxy/phosphate” issue, i.e. in terms of what that implies about chemical composition, as well as just curious what ‘other’ chemicals are contained in the cleaner. But I suppose if the previously mentioned chemical distinction is distinct enough, that’s a moot point.

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