Source: Panorama Author: Elisabetta Burba

After the Council of State accepted the appeal of 44 General Practitioners against the AIFA note that suspended the use of hydroxychloroquine, the Piedmont region is preparing to modify its therapeutic indications in order to be able to reintroduce it.

“We are about to change our guidelines on home care,” the councillor for the health of the Piedmont region, Luigi Genesio Icardi, explains to Panorama.

“We will introduce, within our ‘Covid at home’ protocol, the use of hydroxychloroquine according to the current legislation, that is, it can be used by doctors according to science and conscience. In other words, those who deem it opportune and useful with respect to the single specific case can prescribe it. Since it is a drug to be used off-label, there is a need to give a series of guarantees to patients. Certainly, however, since the possibility of re-use has been sanctioned, we will align ourselves.

During the first wave of the pandemic, Piedmont was one of the regions of the so-called hydroxychloroquine quadrilateral. The drug has been widely used for home care, with what results?

“Very encouraging, so much so, that in April, we included it in our guidelines, ” Councillor Icadi replied.

“Certainly the hydroxychloroquine-based home care project in Alessandria has greatly reduced the hospitalisation rate and also the mortality rate. We say this informally, in the sense that there is no randomised study that can give scientific and statistical significance. However, all the doctors who have used hydroxychloroquine, whixh are those who have resorted to the Council of State, continue to support its usefulness in early use, in the first 48-72 hours. From nowe on, Piedmontese doctors will have the possibility of using this therapy which was banned.”

Councillor Icardi is keen to make a clarification: “I do not want to make clinical evaluations; I am not a doctor, but having the political responsibility of the Department, I say, ‘If there is a therapeutic tool, permitted by law, we leave it to the doctors, to their evaluation in science and conscience, the possibility of use.'”

And when, materially, will the Piedmontese guidelines change?

“The Scientific Committee of our Crisis Unit is evaluating the modalities, after which, we will take action. I think it’s a matter of a few days.”

Before Christmas?

“I hope so,” the Commissioner replies with a smile. And he adds, “Yes, I think so.”

A step, that of the Piedmontese councillor, who should then also lead the way to other Italian regions. And AIFA?

“I believe that AIFA will have to comply with the sentence of the Council of State,” said Icardi, who is also the national coordinator of the Health Commission. “We could even think of a national protocol. However, at the moment, each region has declined the various home care protocols in its own way. What is certain is that the real battle against the virus must be fought not in hospitals, but on the territory: treating at home, in the best way, with all the drugs available.”






Related: Ruling gives green light for controversial COVID-19 therapy

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‘Only a one in 17 billion chance hydroxychloroquine doesn’t work’: medical professor

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