Hydroxychloroquine was banned as a treatment or prophylaxis for COVID-19 by Ohio's Board of Pharmacy for a few hours Thursday, that was until GOP Gov. Mike DeWine stepped in to put the ban on hold.
"As a result of the feedback received by the medical and patient community and at the request of Gov. DeWine, the State of Ohio Board of Pharmacy has withdrawn proposed rule of the Administrative Code; therefore, prohibitions on the prescribing of chloroquine and hydroxychloroquine in Ohio for the treatment of COVID-19 will not take effect at this time," the State of Ohio's Borad of Pharmacy's statement read.
"This will allow the Board to re-examine the issue with the assistance of the State Medical Board of Ohio, clinical experts, and other stakeholders to determine appropriate next steps.
Licensees should be aware that emergency rule 4729-5-30.2 is no longer effective and the requirements of that rule, including the inclusion of a diagnosis code on any prescription for chloroquine and hydroxychloroquine, are no longer applicable."
Ohio was going to join New York, Nevada, and Idaho in placing restrictions on hydroxychloroquine and chloroquine for COVID-19 patients.
"The Board of Pharmacy and the State Medical Board of Ohio should revisit the issue, listen to the best medical science, and open the process up for comment and testimony from experts," DeWine said in a prepared statement.
The restriction was going to prohibit pharmacies, clinics and other medical institutions from dispensing or selling hydroxychloroquine, and the related drug chloroquine, for these purposes, although there are certain exceptions, for example, if the prescription is for a pet or the board's director approves a specific case.
"Basically, it's a patient safety issue," Ohio's Board of Pharmacy Director of Policy and Communications Cameron McNamee told The Columbus Dispatch. "We're looking at the best science to determine what's best for the patients of Ohio.
"The long and short of it is, we want people to focus on what works, such as social distancing and mask use. We ultimately want to make sure people are being safe and not exposing themselves to drugs that have shown not to be effective in treating COVID-19."
Those involved in approval clinical trials for the drug as related to COVID-19 are also exempt from the ban.
"We know that every single good study — and by good study I mean randomized control study in which the data are firm and believable — has shown that hydroxychloroquine is not effective in the treatment of COVID-19," Dr. Anthony Fauci, the U.S. government's top infectious disease specialist, told the BBC on Wednesday.
Still some doctors swear by the efficacy of early treatment of COVID-19 cases, particularly when used with zinc and azithromycin.
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