Wednesday, April 8, 2020

BUSTED FAKE NEWS REPORT - Fact Check: Trump Does Not Own Stake in a Hydroxychloroquine Drugmaker



Olivier Douliery/AFP via Getty ImagesJohn Carney


Claim: “Donald Trump Has Stake In Hydroxychloroquine Drugmaker: Report”

That’s the headline across a HuffPost story that goes on to claim that “President Donald Trump reportedly owns a stake in a company that produces hydroxychloroquine, the anti-malaria drug he has repeatedly touted as a coronavirus treatment even though his experts say there’s no strong evidence it works.”

Verdict: False.

The report cited by the HuffPost is from a New York Times story that said: “Trump himself has a small personal financial interest in Sanofi, the French drugmaker that makes Plaquenil, the brand-name version of hydroxychloroquine.”

Trump’s personal financial interest, however, does not include a stake in Sanofi–and the New York Times did not claim it did. Instead, Trump’s financial disclosures show that his three family trusts each had investments in a $10.3 billion Dodge & Cox mutual fund that owns shares in Sanofi, the world’s fifth-largest drugmaker by prescription sales. As of its latest disclosures, those holdings amount to just 3.3 percent of the fund’s holdings.

Trump’s most recent financial disclosure forms lists holdings in the Dodge & Cox International Fund valued between $1,001 and $15,000. That means Trump holds a maximum stake in the mutual funds of $45,000, giving him an indirect interest in Sanofi of $1,485 at the most.

His “financial interest” in Sanofi, which has a market capitalization of nearly $58 billion, could be as low as $99.10.
This was originally reported
  by independent journalist Mike Cernovich on his website. Cernovich’s figures are lower because it appears he was calculating the interest of a single trust rather than combining the three trusts as we have here.

Plaquenil, the company’s version of the drug, is not material to Sanofi’s stock. It is generically available, not sold in the United States, and has been around since the 1950s.

Trump’s indirect interest in Sanofi pales compared with his indirect interest in practically every company in the world through his much larger holdings in basically every big company in the world through broad market index funds.

Trump has a small stake in basically every big company you can think of.

In each of the trusts, the biggest fund holding is just the broader SPDR S&P 500 ETF, in which Trump holds between $200,000 and $450,000, according to his financial-disclosure forms.

So one could say Trump has $22,000 or so invested in Microsoft, and nearly as much in Apple

It would be accurate to claim that Trump has an interest in the prosperity of businesses around the globe, especially American companies. But it is inaccurate to claim he has a particular interest in the bottom line of Sanofi. Like most diversified investors, Trump’s stock portfolio benefits when the broad market rises and is not leveraged to the profits of one company.

In any case, it is certainly false to claim he directly owns a stake in the French drugmaker.

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