Dr. Oz solicits Fox News viewers to join an at-home hydroxychloroquine clinical trial

The talk show host encouraged viewers to get the medication in the mail, take it, and report what happened next. Other COVID-19 trials of the drug have run into problems with heart complications in patients.

On April 16, TV’s Dr. Mehmet Oz used his now-daily Fox & Friends appearance to promote a “self-reported” hydroxychloroquine clinical trial from the University of Minnesota, claiming that  “they mail you the pills, you start the protocol, [and] tell them what happened.” This comes as other hydroxychloroquine trials internationally have returned murky results so far or in some cases been canceled due to heart complications in patients. 

The study that Dr. Oz appears to be talking about is “limited to only high-risk exposures” to the coronavirus -- not to people who have symptoms, or to just anyone who thinks they might be at risk, as Oz suggested.

Dr. David Boulware, who is leading the study, has warned that healthy people should not self-administer the drug, which has risks of heart complications, particularly if combined with other medicines. He has explained that his study is seeking preventative measures for high-risk individuals who may be “on death’s door."

Neither Dr. Oz nor any of the Fox & Friends hosts urged such caution or explained the vital context. 

Video file

Citation From the April 16, 2020, edition of Fox News' Fox & Friends

DR. MEHMET OZ (HOST, THE DR. OZ SHOW): There's a clinical trial that's just starting now based down at NYU, but the real data's going to come from the University of Minnesota. I just had the principal investigator of that program on the show. I'm earnestly trying to help him recruit more patients. It's a nationwide trial. It's self-reported, so it's not perfect, but the good news is we can get thousands of people to say, hey listen, I have COVID-19 or I'm at risk for getting COVID-19; I want to be part of your trial. They mail you the pills, you start the protocol, tell them what happened. Did it work? Did it not work? Did you go to the hospital? Did you get better? And then based on that, they're going to start giving us some of the data we need to make decisions. So if you go to DoctorOz.com, we put a link to his study there. Or just go to the University of Minnesota site and join this trial. Be part of the solution.