Governor DeWine Pushes Back On Ban Of Unproven COVID-19 Drug

Jul 30, 2020

Ohio Governor Mike DeWine is asking the state Board of Pharmacy to reconsider a ban on prescribing hydroxychloroquine to treat COVID-19.

On Wednesday the Ohio Board of Pharmacy issued a ruling barring pharmacies and prescriber clinics from dispensing the drug, and revoking prior authorizations.  

Hydroxychloroquine is commonly used to treat malaria, lupus and rheumatoid arthritis, but President Donald Trump has promoted it as a cure for COVID-19.  But there have been no large-scale trials that show any positive benefit in coronavirus cases, and some studies have indicated the drug may cause other health problems.  In June the U.S. Food and Drug Administration revoked emergency rules that permitted use of hydroxychloroquine to treat COVID-19.

In his statement this morning Governor DeWine said that treatment decisions "should be between a doctor and a patient."  He urged the Board of Pharmacy and state medical board to reconsider the decision, and hear testimony from experts.

The state already has a stockpile of the drug.  In April, the Ohio Health Department purchased 2 million pills for over $600,000, and accepted donation of another 2 million pills from Capitol Wholesale Drug in Columbus.