The medicine suppliers have to go through a lot to get a new drug approved. There are the double blind tests that can take years to verify, and some of the people in the protocol are given placebos that only produce the side-effects, not the potential cure. Some of these people may die as a result, but that the cost of getting a drug approved. The cost can be upwards of 10 million dollars, so as a reward the Medical supplier company gets awarded a patent for the new medicine. This can take many years to develop, and a patent is valid for only 20 years, so a patent extension of up to 5 years is almost routinely granted. After the patent is expired it becomes a generic drug. And another thing, there has to be at least 170000 people suffering from the disease to make it worthwhile.
There is another way. Over 10 years ago my wife got a case of wet macular degeneration in one eye, but it was not the normal type, more like a blood-filled polyp lodging itself under the retina and causing warped vision to say the least.
There was an approved medication at 2000 dollars an injection, the insurance company paid for it, so she tried it, and it did absolutely nothing. But the eye doctor said, he worked with the Amish community, and they are uninsured and cannot afford more than generic drugs. He had had good results for a few to inject Avastin, an approved drug for colon and rectal cancer among other things, and in the amount needed for injection in one eye the cost was only 70 dollars. The trade-off was obvious; 2000 dollars for a drug that the insurance company paid for, but didn’t work versus a 70 dollar medicine that might work, so she let herself be included in the study. And it worked! And the doctor paid for the cost of the medicine himself, he wanted the study to succeed. He was not alone, a few other doctors worked together to find the cure. A few years later the insurance company accepted the treatment, and my wife’s polyp eventually disappeared.
The point of the story? To rely only on approved medications when confronted with cases out of the ordinary, medical science is advancing not only by medical companies seeking new and profitable drugs, or by University research, but by your regular doctor, in consultation with his peers, as they seek to find the best cure for the individual patient.
The Government is always to slow to react. In the case of COVID-19, it works on a time-scale of 3 days, so the best treatment must be administered immediately, not wait for normal approval procedures. So is the case with Hydroxychloroquine, it is approved and generic, no one will make a case study, the side effects are minimal for Lupus or rheumatic patients, of which there are tens of thousands patients and no one has died from it when applied in approved doses, so administer it to anyone that accepts to be in the study now!