Gov. DeWine Urged Withdrawal of Hydroxychloroquine Ban

GOP Ohio Gov. Mike DeWine reportedly urged the state’s pharmacy board to withdraw a proposed ban of hydroxychloroquine and chloroquine for use as coronavirus treatments.

Under the proposed ban, pharmacies, clinics and other medical institutions would’ve been prohibited from dispensing or selling the drugs to treat COVID-19. But in an announcement Thursday, the pharmacy board pulled back the regulation change, stating it would reexamine the issue.

According to the Columbus Dispatch, the shift came after DeWine asked the state pharmacy board to rescind its plan.

DeWine said the treatment decision should be between patients and their doctors — and the Ohio State Medical, the oldest and largest physician-led organization in Ohio, also said it supported a reversal, the Dispatch reported.

“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.

Hydroxychloroquine has been touted by President Donald Trump despite medical studies showing the drug to be ineffective at treating the disease. The drug may also cause serious cardiac side effects, according to the Food and Drug Administration. 

But even with the FDA’s revocation, the drug could technically still be used for off-label treatment of the virus in Ohio, Cameron McNamee Cameron McNamee, director of policy and communications for the State Ohio Board of Pharmacy, told the news outlet.

Hydroxychloroquine is typically used to treat malaria, a mosquito-borne illness that causes fever, chills and influenza-like symptoms, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. The drug is also used to treat conditions that cause inflammation, such as lupus and forms of arthritis.

In the early days of the pandemic, the Ohio Department of Health stockpiled the drug in case it turned out to be a good coronavirus  treatment, the Dispatch reported.

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