Medical societies blast physician stockpiling of COVID-19 drugs

The American Medical Association, American Pharmacists Association and American Society of Health-System Pharmacists issued a joint statement March 25 in response to reports that some physicians and pharmacists have been stockpiling drugs to treat COVID-19 for themselves and their families. 

Several state pharmacy boards have passed emergency laws putting restrictions on prescriptions of chloroquine, hydroxychloroquine and azithromycin, all touted as possible treatments for COVID-19, though none have been approved by the FDA to treat the disease caused by the coronavirus. 

The emergency laws came after pharmacy boards discovered some physicians were excessively prescribing the drugs and keeping some for themselves and their families. 

In response, the AMA, APHA and ASHP wrote: "Physicians’ and pharmacists’ first and foremost ethical obligation in situations of epidemic, disaster or terrorism is to provide urgent medical care and ensure availability and appropriate use of necessary medications."

The groups wrote that they support the actions states have taken to prevent hoarding the drugs, but they are concerned about possible confusion that may come from the emergency laws, and they fear patients taking the drugs for chronic conditions such as lupus and rheumatoid arthritis may be affected. 

"In a time of national pandemic, now is not the time for states to issue conflicting guidance, however well-intentioned, that could lead to unintended consequences," the groups wrote. 

The groups emphasized that physicians, pharmacists and health systems play an important role as "just stewards of healthcare resources during times of emergency and national disaster." 

Read the full statement here

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