Physicians found hoarding experimental COVID-19 treatments for relatives, report says

Ohio's pharmacy board blocked pharmacists from dispensing two drugs touted as possible COVID-19 treatments unless a person has tested positive for the virus, according to The Columbus Dispatch.

The move came after the board found many prescriptions were being filled for physicians who wanted to stockpile the drugs for their own families, according to the report.

The drugs, chloroquine and hydroxychloroquine, were both designed to treat malaria, but are commonly used to treat autoimmune diseases like lupus and rheumatoid arthritis. They've shown to be effective in slowing the effects of COVID-19 in preliminary trials, but there is no evidence they treat the virus. 

Ohio physicians have been writing so many prescriptions for the drugs for themselves and their families that the Ohio Board of Pharmacy said they are wiping out the supply for everyone else, the Dispatch reported. 

Antonio Ciaccia, director of government and public affairs for the Ohio Pharmacists Association, told the Dispatch that the number of prescriptions for the two drugs compares to what pharmacists saw during the height of the opioid crisis. 

The board held an emergency meeting March 22 to bar pharmacists from dispensing either drug unless a patient has tested positive for COVID-19 or is otherwise approved for the drugs by the pharmacy board's executive director. The prescription has to be limited to a 14 day supply, and no refills are allowed without a new prescription.

Read the full article here

Editor's note: This article was updated March 23 at 11:37 a.m.


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