Could this malaria drug be more effective than metformin?

Hot on the heels of yesterday’s revelations about new cancer drug research, I can’t think of a better time to discuss yet another glaringly obvious example of the power Big Pharma wields here in the U.S.

So today, we’ll be talking about type 2 diabetics—the fastest growing group of sick people in our country. Because according to new research, a malaria drug called hydroxychloroquine may offer clinical benefits to patients with the disease.

But here’s the thing—hydroxychloroquine isn’t new or expensive. It’s old. And it’s generic. So I’ll let you guess just how much interest this will raise in the Big Pharma community…

Cuts blood sugar, BMI, and CRP

Hydroxychloroquine is an immune-modulating drug that doctors traditionally use for malaria treatment (a disease spread by the bite of infected mosquitos), as well as autoimmune disorders like rheumatoid arthritis and lupus.

That said, there’s data to suggest that it might boost insulin sensitivity by curbing inflammation and blocking the activity of insulin-degrading enzymes.

The study lasted for 24 weeks and featured nearly 90 patients. All of whom were struggling to hit their blood sugar targets, despite already taking high doses of drugs—including metformin and a dipeptidyl peptidase-4 (DPP-4) inhibitor.

Ultimately, adding 400 mg of hydroxychloroquine into the mix lowered HbA1c and fasting glucose as safely and effectively as more traditional drugs—only with greater weight loss, which is no small advantage. (Other drugs didn’t deliver this same drop in body mass index [BMI].)

All of this came without any episodes of hypoglycemia (low blood pressure)—one of the main concerns with diabetes drug treatment. And there were no new or worsening cases of retinopathy (damage to the retina that could cause vision impairment)—which is linked to both diabetes and with hydroxychloroquine use.

But maybe most importantly: Hydroxychloroquine reduced levels of C-reactive protein (CRP) from 2.8 to 1.9 mg/dL, which other drugs failed to do.

This is truly significant because treating diabetes goes well beyond just blood sugar control. Ultimately, it’s chronic inflammation that serves as a bridge between diabetes, obesity, and their complications—in particular, heart disease and death.

(I discussed the detrimental health effects of CRP in the July 2018 issue of my newsletter, Logical Health Alternatives [“The silent assailant that’s shrinking your muscles—and how to outsmart it in your sleep”]. Not yet a subscriber? Click here to sign up today and to gain access to all of my archives.)

Outspending…and underperforming

This study took place in India—yet another international trial. But it’s noteworthy for different reasons. Hydroxychloroquine was actually approved in India as a treatment for type 2 diabetics struggling to hit their blood sugar targets way back in 2014.

But here in the U.S., of course, we prefer to look at only the newest, priciest drugs. And when that fails, we move on to insulin (which isn’t affordable to a lot of folks who need it the most…but I digress).

In other words, hydroxychloroquine isn’t even on the radar for diabetes treatment in the U.S. Which, frankly, isn’t shocking at all…for reasons you can probably guess.

First, you’ve got naysayers pointing out that we still don’t know if this drug will improve cardiovascular outcomes. And if you’re wondering why that matters, well…I am, too.

Because guess what? If you improve blood sugar control, by definition, you improve cardiovascular outcomes. Do we really need another study to support that logic?

I guess so. (Not that we’ll ever get one, thanks to American scientists and their tunnel vision—which borders on stupidity and exists only because they’re so beholden to the drug industry.)

And Big Pharma certainly isn’t going to spend any money researching a life-saving new use for an old, generic drug…because there isn’t any money in it for them. At least, not enough to make it worthwhile.

Just so you know, a quick internet check of U.S. chain pharmacy prices shows that hydroxychloroquine is a cheaper alternative for diabetic patients who are struggling to afford their medications.

A 60-count bottle of 200 mg hydroxychloroquine tablets ranges from $25 to $60. Meanwhile, a 30-count bottle of 300 mg canagliflozin (the DPP-4 inhibitor used in this trial), comes in closer to a whopping $500.

Clearly, these savings aren’t enough for the medical community to want to test the waters with hydroxychloroquine. Because unfortunately, our big businesses want their money, and they know exactly how to get it—by holding the healthcare industry hostage.

In other countries, governments look for ways to make the most out of every dollar in order to care for as many people as possible. While the U.S. continues to just throw more money at the problem…outspending every other country in the world in healthcare. And we’re not even making the top 20 when it comes to public health…

Replacing costly patented drugs with equally effective cheap generics isn’t going to solve this overarching problem. But if we can’t even manage to do that, it’s hard to hold out hope for anything else.

P.S. Thankfully, I’ve developed a plan for preventing and reversing type 2 diabetes, prediabetes, and metabolic syndrome that takes drugs out of the equation altogether. My Metabolic Repair Protocol combines dietary, lifestyle, and supplement recommendations in an easy-to-follow, interactive online format that allows you to ask questions along the way. Click here to learn about this innovative learning protocol, or to sign up today.


“Old Malaria Drug as Good as Blockbuster Type 2 Diabetes Agent.” Medscape Medical News, May 03, 2019. (