Tennessee lawmakers aim to protect physicians who use unapproved COVID treatments

Tennessee state Reps. Debra Moody and Chris Todd have proposed legislation that would prevent punishment of physicians who recommend treatments for COVID-19 that have not been approved by the FDA to treat the disease, according to Newsweek.

The Republican Tennessee lawmakers introduced HB 9028 and HB 9020 Oct. 26, according to the report.

Under the legislation introduced by Ms. Moody, the Board of Medical Examiners and Board of Osteopathic Examination, which license and discipline physicians in Tennessee, are prohibited from revoking, failing to renew, suspending, or taking an action against a physician's license "based solely on the physician's recommendations to a patient regarding treatment for COVID-19, so long as the physician exercised independent medical judgment and believes that the medical treatment is in the best interest of the patient and the patient provides written, informed consent." It also prohibits a pharmacy from blocking or attempting to block a patient's access to a drug, biological product or device prescribed by the physician solely on the basis that the FDA has not approved the drug, biological product or device to treat COVID-19.

Under the legislation introduced by Mr. Todd, a licensing board is prohibited from acting against a physician solely based on the physician's prescription, recommendation, use or opinion relative to a COVID-19 treatment, including a treatment that is not indicated for COVID-19 or is not recommended or regulated by the department of health, the board or the FDA.

Stephen Loyd, MD, a member of the Board of Medical Examiners who reviewed Mr. Todd's bill, told The Tennessean he did not believe the current proposal would have significant effects because the board only intends to discipline disprovable misinformation rather than opinion.

"We don't discipline doctors for opinions," Dr. Loyd told the newspaper. "There may be some lawyer having to separate out what is opinion in a lawsuit one of these days, but that's not our intent."

Newsweek reached out to the lawmakers for comment and had not heard back as of publication time Oct. 28. 

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