“I am feeling actually good. I used to be feeling so-so on Sunday, unhealthy on Monday. In the present day Tuesday, I am feeling a lot better than Saturday, so surely,” he stated as he held up a capsule after which swallowed it. “It is working.”
Simply final week, Bolsonaro once more admitted that he may very well be confirmed flawed and that the drug may not have any influence on the coronavirus, however added “not less than I did not kill anybody. Now, if by probability, it proves to be efficient down the street, these of you who criticized, a part of the media, you’ll be held accountable.”
In response to unique paperwork obtained by CNN affiliate CNN Brasil, Bolsonaro was not solely speaking up the medication final 12 months, his authorities was actively utilizing emergency funds designated to fight the Covid-19 pandemic to buy and distribute them even after that they had been proven to be ineffective.
Two days later, on June 17, the Brazilian Society of Infectious Illnesses printed an open letter saying it was “pressing and needed” to halt the usage of hydroxychloroquine within the therapy of Covid-19. The Well being Ministry, nonetheless, didn’t change its suggestions over the next months and medical doctors reported being pressured to prescribe them. (I’ve a PDF of the letter)
In September, the Well being Ministry’s strategic medicines workplace confirmed to CNN Brasil that it was within the technique of buying extra chloroquine with assets earmarked for combatting Covid-19 as a result of its stockpile had fallen to 375,500 doses. It didn’t specify how a lot it was ordering or how a lot it could value.
“In 2020 the malaria program has seen a rise within the variety of instances in Brazil, and as has been introduced every day, the variety of instances of Covid-19 in Brazil remains to be excessive,” the division stated in a written response. “Subsequently it’s anticipated that the demand from states and municipalities for this medication will stay excessive within the second half of 2020.”
They didn’t specify what half was used for its malaria program and what half for combatting Covid-19, however in accordance with figures obtained by CNN Brasil, a complete of three.23 million tablets have been produced by the Brazilian military’s pharmaceutical unit in 2020. That compares with 265,000 tablets produced in 2017 and none produced in 2018 or 2019.
Paperwork obtained by CNN Brasil utilizing Brazil’s Freedom of Data Act present that between the months of April and August, the Well being Ministry’s workplace for the coordination of strategic medicines requested 1.5 million tablets of chloroquine be distributed to state well being departments by the Military’s pharmaceutical lab.
In response to the paperwork, the distribution was geared toward “combatting the Covid-19 pandemic” and the tablets have been distributed based mostly on the variety of suspected instances in every state.
The distributions continued within the second half of the 12 months, even after the FDA had revoked its emergency use authorization and several other research had concluded that chloroquine and hydroxychloroquine weren’t efficient within the therapy of Covid-19. The Military informed CNN Brasil that between September 2020 and January 2021, 420,000 doses have been distributed.
One contract seen by CNN Brasil exhibits that in September, the military spent $144,000 on uncooked supplies wanted to provide chloroquine, paying 167 p.c over market worth — a purchase order that was flagged as suspicious by the Federal Common Accounting Workplace. In a press release to CNN, the military stated that costs had risen due to fluctuations within the change charge and a rise in demand internationally.
In the identical month, Brazil obtained a letter from the Pfizer CEO Albert Bourla urging the nation to signal a contract to purchase 70 million doses of its Covid-19 vaccine and providing to satisfy with the federal government. Pfizer was already in late stage trials with its vaccine at the moment. CNN Brasil first reported on the existence of the letter final month. It was despatched to Bolsonaro and several other cupboard ministers on Sept. 12, when the dying toll in Brazil was already the second-highest on this planet at 131,000 and the variety of confirmed instances was 4.3 million.
However negotiations with Pfizer sputtered and didn’t finish in an settlement. Information of the letter sparked anger when it emerged final month as the federal government scrambled to roll out a vaccine program.
Brazil’s Well being Ministry responded to CNN Brasil saying the phrases of the provide, which included an settlement to not maintain Pfizer chargeable for unfavorable unwanted effects, have been “abusive.” The ministry stated it was additionally involved concerning the small variety of doses being provided within the first lot: 500,000, however added that negotiations have been nonetheless ongoing.
Pfizer declined to remark.
When Brazil lastly launched its nationwide vaccination program on January 18 after repeated delays, it began with simply six million doses for a inhabitants of greater than 210 million.
Bolsonaro’s authorities had wager on the Oxford/AstraZeneca vaccine because the centerpiece of its program. However on account of delays, they ultimately turned to CoronaVac, the vaccine developed by China’s Sinovac and examined in Brazil in a partnership with the governor of Sao Paulo state, who additionally occurs to be Bolsonaro’s political nemesis.
To date, 2.2 p.c of the inhabitants has obtained a primary dose of the two-dose routine required by each the CoronaVac and Oxford/AstraZeneca vaccines.
Bolsonaro appointed Pazuello, a military common, when his second well being minister give up after declining to problem federal pointers for the usage of hydroxychloroquine and chloroquine within the therapy of Covid-19.
“I used to be elected to make choices and the choice about chloroquine goes by way of me,” Bolsonaro declared final Might. The next day, Nelson Teich resigned. His substitute, Pazuello, issued the rules.
Jose Brito is an investigative journalist at CNN Brasil.