OKLAHOMA CITY — Gov. Kevin Stitt on Tuesday defended the state's $2 million purchase of a malaria drug President Donald Trump touted as a treatment for COVID-19.

Stitt said his first instinct as governor is to procure any equipment or other things that might protect Oklahomans during this global pandemic, especially as the federal government is reimbursing states for purchases related to COVID-19.

Oklahoma and more than 21 other states secured shipments of the drug, hydroxychloroquine, after it was touted by the president, according to a report from the Associated Press.

The drug is not a proven treatment for the virus. The U.S. Food and Drug Administration recently warned doctors against prescribing the drug for treating COVID-19 outside of hospitals or research settings because of reports of serious side effects.

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