‘We want to ensure that doctors have the ability to prescribe these medicines…’
(Claire Russel, Liberty Headlines) Just one week after threatening to take “administrative action” against doctors who prescribed experimental drugs for coronavirus patients, Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer, considered a rising Democratic star, has flip-flopped.
As the state’s confirmed coronavirus cases continued to surge, Whitmer asked the federal government this week to send anti-malarial drugs, including hydroxychloroquine, from the Strategic National Stockpile to the state’s hospitals.
Whitmer defended her flip-flop, saying the state is trying to remain “nimble” in its response to the coronavirus.
“We want to ensure that doctors have the ability to prescribe these medicines,” she said during a press conference.
“We also want to make sure that the people who have prescriptions that predated COVID-19 have access to the medication they need,” she continued. “And so all of the work that we’ve done is trying to strike that balance.”
Michigan’s Department of Licensing and Regulatory Affairs sent a letter to the state’s healthcare system last week warning physicians and nurses not to “inappropriately” prescribe the medications, claiming they do not have a “legitimate medical purpose.”
“These drugs have not been proven scientifically or medically to treat COVID-19,” the letter stated.
Although clinical trials have yet to officially confirm the drug’s efficacy in treating COVID-19, the Food and Drug Administration has granted emergency authorization to use it following strong anecdotal evidence and an endorsement from President Donald Trump.
Health and Human Services Secretary Alex Azar announced in a statement that “scientists in America and around the world have identified multiple potential therapeutics for COVID-19, including chloroquine and hydroxychloroquine.”
HHS found that the anti-malarial treatments have “shown activity in laboratory studies against coronaviruses,” including the virus that causes COVID-19.
“Anecdotal reports suggest that these drugs may offer some benefit in the treatment of hospitalized COVID-19 patients,” HHS said in a statement. “Clinical trials are needed to provide scientific evidence that these treatments are effective.”