The Ohio pharmacy board planned to ban the drug as a COVID-19 treatment until Gov. Mike DeWine spoke up about it.
The State of Ohio Board of Pharmacy has changed course on its ban of hydroxychloroquine and chloroquine as coronavirus treatments following the governor’s urging to do so.
Beginning Thursday, pharmacies, clinics and other medical institutions were to be prohibited from dispensing or selling the drugs to treat COVID-19, according to regulations issued by the State of Ohio Board of Pharmacy. They could still be used in clinical trials, said Cameron McNamee, director of policy and communications for the board.
That regulation change has since been pulled back by the board though. Instead, the board now plans to reexamine the issue with the assistance of the State Medical Board of Ohio, clinical experts and other stakeholders to determine its next steps, according to an announcement.
The board’s shift came after Gov. Mike DeWine asked the state pharmacy board on Thursday morning to rescind its plan to ban hydroxychloroquine and chloroquine as treatments for the virus.
DeWine said the decision of how to treat COVID-19 should instead be between patients and their doctors. The Ohio State Medical, the oldest and largest physician-led organization in Ohio, also said it supported a reversal of the ban.
“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 FDA in mid-June revoked an emergency authorization for hydroxychloroquine that had allowed it to be used to treat COVID-19 patients. Despite the FDA’s revocation and until now, it could technically still be used for off-label treatment of the virus in Ohio, McNamee said.
“Basically, it’s a patient safety issue,” McNamee said on Wednesday before DeWine’s request and the board’s subsequent reversal. “We’re looking at the best science to determine what’s best for the patients of Ohio.”