Sen. Ron Johnson (R-WI) has forwarded correspondence to President Donald Trump, encouraging efforts to provide COVID-19 patients the right to try hydroxychloroquine (HCQ) in the course of their diagnosis.

Johnson is seeking to have the president issue a directive to remove the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) Emergency Use Authorization restriction. HCQ and chloroquine (CQ) from the National Strategic Stockpile are only approved for certain hospitalized patients and direct the FDA to include the option of early outpatient use of these medications.

Johnson is also seeking a presidential directive or executive order prohibiting governors from arbitrarily restricting hydroxychloroquine (HCQ) to only hospitalized patients, and prohibiting state medical boards and state pharmacy boards from threats of disciplinary action against doctors and pharmacists legally prescribing and dispensing HCQ and CQ off-label for early treatment or prevention of COVID-19 in outpatients or at-risk or exposed persons.

Johnson maintains doctors and hospitals are reluctant to assume the liability for off label use of HCQ in the wake of lacking guidance from the FDA and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) encouraging its use.

Johnson wrote in his letter to the president that restricting use to hospitalized patients means loss of the critical early window of opportunity to prevent the virus attaching to host cells; reduce viral replication that prolongs the time of infectivity and spread; reduce the number of hospitalizations and need for intubation and mechanical ventilators; and reduce risk of multi-organ damage and death or permanent lung impairment after recovery.

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