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Ohio pharmacy board backs down on banning drug for COVID-19

Photo Supplied - FDA

COLUMBUS, Ohio (AP): The Ohio pharmacy board reversed course Thursday and tossed a rule that would have prohibited the use of a malaria drug for patients with COVID-19. The decision followed public feedback and a request by Gov. Mike DeWine to ditch the rule.

At issue was the prescribing of the drug hydroxychloroquine, whose effectiveness for the coronavirus has been widely questioned. On Wednesday, the pharmacy board banned its use as a coronavirus treatment, noting that the Food and Drug Administration previously revoked the emergency use of the drug.

The FDA “made this determination based on recent results from a large, randomized clinical trial in hospitalized patients that found these medicines showed no benefit for decreasing the likelihood of death or speeding recovery,” the state pharmacy board said.

But on Thursday, FDA Commissioner Dr. Steven Hahn said on NBC’s “Today” show that the drug’s use should be between doctor and patient. DeWine said he agreed with that assessment.

The board of pharmacy’s process in issuing the rule was “fundamentally flawed” because a full hearing that sought out additional medical advice should have been held, the governor said at his Thursday afternoon briefing.

DeWine said he should not be taking a medical position as governor on using the drug to treat patients. He said there’s a distinction between that issue and his decision to order mask-wearing statewide.

While there’s “no credible minority view on masks,” there’s some information suggesting hydroxychlorine possibly has value when used with other drugs, DeWine said.

“There’s a fundamental difference between when it’s overwhelming evidence in regard to the mask, and in a case where it’s question of what a doctor should prescribe to an individual patient,” the governor said.

The pharmacy board said it decided to roll back the rule as “a result of the feedback received by the medical and patient community and at the request of Governor DeWine.” It plans to reexamine the issue along with the state medical board.

On Tuesday, President Donald Trump once again promoted the use of the drug when he retweeted a viral video of a group of doctors promoting the use of the drug. Both Twitter and Facebook have removed the content in efforts to keep the sites free of harmful misinformation about the virus.

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Rocky August 4, 2020 at 9:09 am

How do you know when a “Pandemic” is strictly political?…

Trump gets slandered for using the drug prescribed by his doctor, Government offices are banning drugs that studies have shown to be effective in several other Countries, been around for 60 year+, safe, and removing the doctors’ discretion as to whether or not prescribe.

Hey general Public, how do you feel about your “leaders” making these kind of decisions regarding your health, and not your doctor?

Steve Brace August 4, 2020 at 1:01 pm

research is very complicated. The design can and often does dictate the outcome. Too many providers with infectious disease backgrounds have seen positive outcomes for us not to be missing something. Yale and Henry Ford hospital recently published positive, though not double blinded, outcomes with the use of hydroxychloroquine.
Interestingly we do not have “gold standard” research that has been published to show that masks show a statically significant improvement in preventing SARS-CoV-2 infections. Although clearly it would be impossible to “blind” a study of masks vs no mask one could blind to materials used to make the masks. There have been some very interesting lab studies published on mask materials.


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