The well-known snake-oil salesman from New Jersey, Dr. Mehmet Oz, leaned into anti-malarial hydroxychloroquine as a COVID treatment before any studies proved it was not helpful. Oz and his wife own stakes in several companies involved in the manufacture and distribution of the drug, however, these companies all make lots of drugs, which may just be coincidental as Oz seemingly enjoys promoting things that do not work.
Oz's financial ties to a producer and distributor of the drug, and his promotion of it as a potential Covid treatment, raise questions about what he stood to gain from its wider use during the pandemic. If he wins the Senate election, he could also face conflicts of interest as Congress grapples with a still evolving coronavirus pandemic.
In a statement responding to CNBC questions about Oz's relationships with companies that make or distribute hydroxychloroquine, including when he and his wife bought the Thermo Fisher Scientific stock, Oz campaign spokeswoman Brittany Yanick did not address the candidate's financial holdings.
"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. He offered to fund the clinical trial at Columbia University," she said.
The FDA has approved hydroxychloroquine to fight malaria, but warned it has "not been shown to be safe and effective for treating or preventing COVID-19."