Carson City, NV – Some of the nation’s governors remain at odds with President Donald Trump’s praise of hydroxychloroquine as the silver bullet for the novel coronavirus but Nevada and New York took their objections to the extreme.
On Tuesday, Democratic Nevada Gov. Steve Sisolak signed an executive order that banned his state’s physicians from using the anti-malaria drugs chloroquine and hydroxychloroquine to treat coronavirus patients, the New York Post reported.
President Trump set off a firestorm of controversy when he announced during a White House coronavirus task force briefing that hydroxychloroquine was an FDA-approved drug that could treat COVID-19.
Hydroxychloroquine has FDA approval to treat malaria, not coronavirus, but doctors all over the world have bene experimenting with it and seeing success, CNN reported.
The Centers for Disease Control (CDC) said the drug has been proven effective when it was used to treat severe acute respiratory syndrome coronaviruses – including the SARS strain that causes Covid-19 – as well as other coronaviruses.
The drugs have been in use for a long time to treat other illnesses, so doctors already have a lot of data about how people respond to the FDA-approved medications.
President Trump has represented the drug as being safer than other experimental options at this point and pointed out it was being successfully used to treat lupus and arthritis in some, CNN reported.
“The nice part is, it’s been around for a long time, so we know that if things don’t go as planned, it’s not going to kill anybody,” he explained at a task force briefing.
But Sisolak said there was not enough consensus among experts and Nevada’s doctors to allow the drug to be used to treat positive cases of coronavirus, the New York Post reported.
The Nevada governor’s executive order also limited prescriptions of the medication to patients who were already prescribed it to treat illnesses like lupus and arthritis.
The order limited those patients to a 30-day supply to make sure it remained available for “legitimate medical purposes” and to avoid stockpiling, the New York Post reported.
In badly-infected New York State, Governor Andrew Cuomo was initially skeptical of assertions that dosing coronavirus patients with hydroxychloroquine was a harmless good idea.
On Monday, Cuomo banned pharmacists from dispending the experimental medications for the purpose of treating coronavirus in an executive order.
He also limited pharmacists who were filling prescriptions for people who were already on the drug for another legitimate reason.
“No pharmacist shall dispense hydroxychloroquine or chloroquine except when written as prescribed for an FDA-approved indication; or as part of a state approved clinical trial related to COVID-19 for a patient who has tested positive for COVID-19, with such test result documented as part of the prescription,” the executive order read. “No other experimental or prophylactic use shall be permitted, and any permitted prescription is limited to one fourteen day prescription with no refills.”
But after the FDA approved experimenting with a combination of hydroxychloroquine and the antibiotic Zithromax to treat the spreading pandemic, Cuomo got on board with testing the drug on his state’s skyrocketing coronavirus-infected population, WNBC reported.
“On the drug therapy, Tuesday we’re going to start the hydroxychloroquine with the Zithromax. That’s the drug combination that the President has been talking about,” Cuomo announced during his Monday coronavirus press briefing.
He also announced that New York would be the first state to try and treat critically-ill coronavirus patients with the antibodies extracted from the plasma of people who have recovered from COVID-19, WNBC reported.