Leaked emails showed that Dr. Mehmet Oz (R), who is running for the U.S. Senate in Pennsylvania, encouraged former President Donald Trump to test hydroxychloroquine as a “potential pandemic solution” in March 2020.

Hydroxychloroquine has been used to treat malaria, but studies have since shown that it is not an effective solution to the coronavirus. 

The TV doctor sent an email with a link to one of his show’s segments about hydroxychloroquine research to top Trump adviser Jared Kushner, according to the emails obtained by the Washington Post.

“The President should acknowledge this desire for a formal clinical trial and push academic centers to move more expeditiously, since our natural inclination is to slowly prod along,” Oz wrote. “We need hospital leadership to take decisive steps.”

Oz also emailed then-White House coronavirus response coordinator Deborah Birx.

“At the outset of the pandemic, Dr. Mehmet Oz spoke with health experts worldwide who were seeing hydroxychloroquine and azithromycin as viable treatment options for desperately ill COVID patients and he offered to fund a clinical trial at Columbia University,” Oz spokesperson Rachel Tripp said in a statement, explaining his early advocacy for testing of the treatment.

The Trump administration encouraged the Food and Drug Administration to approve the use of hydroxychloroquine and collected around 66 million doses. In May 2020, a study conducted by Columbia University found that the drug was ineffective in treating Covid-19.

Oz has since denied the findings and has been criticized by fellow doctors and his Democratic opponent John Fetterman for pushing research on the drug on his show.

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