Pepcid as a virus remedy? Trump admin’s $21M gamble fizzled


This June 15, 2020 photo shows a bottle and tablets of Pepcid antacid in Washington. The U.S. government’s Pepcid project has revealed what critics describe as the Trump administration’s disregard for science and anti-corruption rules meant to guard against taxpayer dollars going to political cronies or funding projects that aren’t rigorously designed. (AP Photo/Patrick Semansky)

WASHINGTON – The Trump administration pushed through a $21 million contract to study whether the active ingredient in Pepcid is an effective treatment for Covid-19.  

The Food and Drug Administration gave the clinical trial speedy approval even as a top agency official worried that daily injections of high doses of famotidine for already sick patients pushed the levels of what was considered safe “to the limits,” internal government emails show.

Now, the doctors who initially pushed the Pepcid idea are locked in a battle for credit and sniping over allegations of scientific misconduct.  

The Associated Press reports that when government scientists learned in early April that the administration wanted to test famotidine as a COVID-19 cure they found it laughable.

A whistleblower complained after the administration granted $21 million for the project anyway, and the contract is now under scrutiny.

See what led the administration to fixate on the over-the-counter heartburn remedy.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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