Investigative reporters Richard Lardner, Washington, and Jason Dearen, Florida, followed the crumbs in a whistleblower complaint to detail how the Trump administration is spending millions on questionable coronavirus research with little basis in science. The two obtained additional internal government emails and documents to show scientists’ skepticism about a $21 million deal to assess whether the heartburn-relief medication Pepcid could be an effective remedy for severely ill COVID-19 patients.

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Dr. Steven Nissen poses in his laboratory at the Cleveland Clinic in Cleveland, Ohio, Jan. 16, 2004. Nissen, who has been a frequent adviser to the Food and Drug Administration has been very critical of the Trump administration’s approach to finding remedies for COVID-19, comparing it to “… throwing spaghetti at the wall and seeing what sticks. I consider trials like (the famotidine/Pepcid trial) to be largely a waste of time and money when they’re very unlikely to show positive results.”

AP Photo / Amy Sancetta