SALT LAKE CITY (AP) — Utah will be refunded for a $800,000 purchase it spent to buy a malaria drug once touted by President Donald Trump for treating the new coronavirus despite warnings from doctors, officials said Wednesday.
Leaders in both Utah and Oklahoma have faced scrutiny for spending millions of dollars combined to purchase the drugs many other states obtained for free.
Republican Gov. Gary Herbert said the pharmacy has agreed to the refund, and an internal review found no wrongdoing in the no-bid contract with the Utah compounding pharmacy Meds in Motion. It was made at a time when it appeared the drug might help and there could be shortages of it, he said. Since then, though, warnings have mounted from the Food and Drug Administration and others.
“All involved acted proactively, preemptively and prudently during an emergency in an effort to save lives” and got a “fair price” for the medication, Hebert said in a statement.
The left-leaning nonprofit Alliance for a Better Utah disagrees and has filed a price-gouging complaint arguing the $40 per pack drug was grossly overpriced.