Democrat governor restricts anti-malaria drugs for coronavirus treatment

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President Donald J. Trump, joined by Vice President Mike Pence and members of the White House Coronavirus Task Force, delivers remarks at a coronavirus (COVID-19) press briefing Friday, March 20, 2020, in the James S. Brady Press Briefing Room of the White House. (Official White House photo by Shealah Craighead)

[Editor’s note: This story originally was published by the Daily Caller News Foundation.]

CORRECTION, April 5, 2020: The following story by the Daily Caller News Foundation was initially published in WND with the headline, “Democrat governor bans anti-malaria drugs for coronavirus treatment.” WND has since corrected the headline to “Democrat governor restricts anti-malaria drugs for coronavirus treatment,” as there was no complete ban on the anti-malaria drugs. The DCNF story does not include an important exemption. The governor’s order does not apply to patients who are hospitalized with coronavirus. Doctors in hospitals and emergency rooms can still prescribe chloroquine and hydroxychloroquine to treat patients diagnosed with COVID-19, as corrected in reports by the Associated Press as well as Politifact.


By Mary Margaret Olohan
Daily Caller News Foundation

The governor of Nevada barred the use of anti-malaria drugs within the state after President Donald Trump said the medication could potentially be used as treatment for COVID-19.

Democratic Nevada Gov. Stephen Sisolak signed an emergency order Tuesday barring the use of the anti-malaria drugs chloroquine and hydroxychloroquine for treating patients diagnosed with coronavirus, the Associated Press reported. The governor, who did not respond to a request for comment from the Daily Caller News Foundation, reasoned that neither experts nor Nevada doctors have a consensus on whether the drugs can treat coronavirus patients.

His order came just days after Trump announced that the Federal Drug Administration is waiving “outdated rules and bureaucracies” to test various “anti-viral therapies” that might combat the virus. This includes the malaria drugs.

“It’s shown very encouraging early results, and we’re going to be able to make that drug available almost immediately,” the president said. “And that’s where the FDA has been so great.”

The FDA reports that studies are underway to “determine the efficacy in using chloroquine to treat COVID-19.”

“The FDA has been working closely with other government agencies and academic centers that are investigating the use of the drug chloroquine, which is already approved for treating malaria, lupus and rheumatoid arthritis, to determine whether it can be used to treat patients with mild-to-moderate COVID-19 to potentially reduce the duration of symptoms, as well as viral shedding, which can help prevent the spread of disease,” the FDA said in a March 19 statement, according to an FDA press release.

FDA Commissioner Stephen Hahn, M.D. said: “We also must ensure these products are effective; otherwise we risk treating patients with a product that might not work when they could have pursued other, more appropriate, treatments, At the same time, we will engage with domestic manufacturers to ramp up production of this product to mitigate any potential supply chain pressures.”

“If clinical data suggests this product may be promising in treating COVID-19, we know there will be increased demand for it,” Hahn added. “We will take all steps to ensure chloroquine remains available for patients who take it to treat severe and life-threatening illnesses such as lupus.”

A nationwide shortage of the drugs is reportedly spurred by doctors prescribing the medication for themselves and for their families, ProPublica reported.

“It’s disgraceful, is what it is. And completely selfish,” executive director of the Illinois Pharmacists Association Garth Reynolds told the publication. The Illinois Pharmacists Association began receiving emails and calls from members Saturday who said they were receiving questionable prescriptions, ProPublica reported.

Reynolds said the IPA has begun efforts to urge doctors against this.

“We even had a couple of examples of prescribers trying to say that the individual they were calling in for had rheumatoid arthritis,” he said. “I mean, that’s fraud.”

This story originally was published by the Daily Caller News Foundation.

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