PHOENIX – A group of physicians is asking why members of the public would be prohibited from taking hydroxychloroquine if it is good enough for President Donald Trump.
Dr. Jane Orient on the Trump/Hydroxychloroquine controversy and why there has been backlash. https://t.co/XuBF73M66Y
— James T Harris (@JamesTHarris) May 21, 2020
Earlier this week, President Trump sent heads spinning when he disclosed that he was taking hydroxychloroquine (HCQ) with zinc to protect himself against COVID-19—with the approval of his physicians.
The Association of American Physicians & Surgeons (AAPS) says that “although some in the media may find this startling or concerning, thousands and probably millions of people worldwide are doing likewise.”
According to the group, “patients and physicians who wish to use this long-approved drug, taken safely by 100 million patients over 70 years, are running into barriers set up by the FDA, governors, and state bureaucracies.”
In fact, although he denied prohibiting the use of hydroxychloroquine, Arizona Governor Doug Ducey included a reference to it in his stay-at-home executive order. In his order, Ducey said pharmacists could dispense the drugs but only as a treatment for patients who are confirmed to have coronavirus and who have a prescription from their doctors saying as much. The order strictly prohibits dispensing the drug as a preventive measure, “unless peer-reviewed evidence citing prophylactic effectiveness becomes available.”
AAPS noted a case of a family physician who cannot obtain HCQ for his nursing-home patients.
“It is perfectly legal for physicians to prescribe an approved drug for a newly discovered indication, and very frequently done,” stated AAPS in a press release. “It is unprecedented for licensure boards to threaten pharmacists who dispense or physicians who prescribe ‘off-label.’”
“Basic science research from 15 years ago provides solid reason to expect that HCQ could be effective early in COVID-19, preventing hospitalization and death, and clinical experience from the U.S. and around the globe bears this out,” stated AAPS. “It is not likely to work well in seriously sick patients, the only ones who can get it under the FDA’s emergency use authorization (EUA).”
In late April, the FDA issued a new special warning about potential heart problems from use of HCQ in COVID-19—which advises patients with other conditions to continue taking it because benefits exceed the risks.
“The benefit of potentially preventing thousands of hospitalizations and deaths vastly exceeds the risks of HCQ, which has an outstanding safety record,” concluded AAPS. “And if President Trump’s doctor can prescribe it, why can’t yours?”