WASHINGTON – U.S. Sen. Ron Johnson (R-Wis.), chairman of the Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee, forwarded a letter with thousands of new signatures to President Trump Thursday, urging the president to help give patients the right to try hydroxychloroquine (HCQ) in the course of their COVID-19 diagnosis. At the time the senator forwarded the letter to the president, over 2000 doctors, medical professionals and concerned patients had signed the letter through the senator’s website in addition to 2000 physicians who had already signed the letter.
Absent guidance from the FDA and the CDC encouraging its use, many doctors and hospitals are reluctant to assume the liability for “off label” use of HCQ. In order to break this prescribing logjam, the Johnson-backed letter calls for the president to take two specific actions:
- Issue a presidential directive to remove the FDA Emergency Use Authorization restriction that states hydroxychloroquine (HCQ) and chloroquine (CQ) from the National Strategic Stockpile are only approved “for certain hospitalized patients,” and to direct the FDA to include the option of early outpatient use of these medications.
- Issue a presidential directive or executive order to a) prohibit governors from arbitrarily restricting hydroxychloroquine (HCQ) to only hospitalized patients, and b) prohibit state medical boards and state pharmacy boards from threats of disciplinary action (now occurring in multiple states) against doctors and pharmacists legally prescribing and dispensing HCQ and CQ off-label for early treatment or prophylaxis for COVID-19 in outpatients or at-risk or exposed persons.