LAURA INGRAHAM (HOST): I've been telling you all about the potential benefits in treating COVID-19 patients with new drugs, including hydroxychloroquine, which is actually an old drug, it's been around for a long time. And we've been talking about this to you for more than a week, including bringing on cases of actual Americans whose lives were, in their view, in their words, saved after being prescribed that drug combination of hydroxychloroquine and azithromycin.
Now my next guest is currently using the drug on patients for its traditional -- more traditional uses, autoimmune diseases. He's also getting results. Well joining me now is world-renowned physician, global entrepreneur Nicholas Perricone. Dr. Perricone, great to see you. You've been following the -- well, it's the establishment medical community, which is notoriously, and I guess for good reason, risk-averse. But this is wartime in this fight against this virus. So are you surprised that there's a lot of hesitancy about green-lighting this old antimalarial?
DR. NICHOLAS PERRICONE: Yes, I'm very surprised. I understand -- as a physician, I, too, am risk-averse. But let's look at the risk-benefit ratio here. This drug was released in 1945. That's over 70 years ago. It's currently about a million patients a year on it for other reasons, like autoimmune disease, lupus, and also rheumatoid arthritis. And there's nothing better, as far as I'm concerned, in terms of safety of a drug is to have it being used a long time, and 70 years is a very long time.
We know from the data coming in that it's looking very good. Now I understand we would all love to have some really great comparative studies, but we don't have time for that. In fact, time is of the essence right now. And we are giving them a short -- basically a short treatment, of maybe five to seven days. With five to seven days on hydroxychloroquine there is side-effect profiles extremely, extremely low, and therefore I don't think that's a worry.
So if we look at this and look at the risk-benefit ratio, we have a drug that's been tried and true for 70 years. We're getting some good data back. And we have people that are infected with a very bad disease here. It makes no sense to me whatsoever to hesitate distributing this drug. Don't forget you’ll be under the care of a physician. So the physician will check to make sure it's not going to be a conflict with other medications or if you have any underlying problems.
And so we need to move forward on this. We need to move very quickly. Time is of the essence. Every day counts in terms of saving lives here. And for anybody to be hesitant at this time I think is doing a huge disservice to the people of this country. And I can't emphasize enough we need to get enough product here, and we are getting some good news.