Coronavirus: Ohio pharmacy board reverses rule on using hydroxychloroquine as COVID-19 treatment

COLUMBUS — UPDATE @ 1:18 p.m.:

The State Pharmacy Board has reversed its stance on using hydroxychloroquine to treat COVID-19.

“As a result of the feedback received by the medical and patient community and at the request of Governor DeWine, the State of Ohio Board of Pharmacy has withdrawn proposed rule 4729:5-5-21 of the Administrative Code,” a release said. “Therefore, prohibitions on the prescribing of chloroquine and hydroxychloroquine in Ohio for the treatment of COVID-19 will not take effect at this time.”

UPDATE @ 9:55 a.m. (July 30):

Ohio Gov. Mike DeWine is asking for the Ohio Board of Pharmacy and the State Medical Board to halt the new rule issued Thursday that bans the use of hydroxychloroquine as a treatment of COVID-19.

“I agree with the statement from Dr. Steven Hahn, Commissioner of the Food and Drug Administration, that the decision about prescribing hydroxychloroquine to treat COVID-19 should be between a doctor and a patient,” DeWine said in a statement issued Thursday morning.

“The Board of Pharmacy and the State Medical Board of Ohio should revisit the issue, listen to the best medical science, and open the process up for comment and testimony from experts.”


Ohio is banning the use of hydroxychloroquine in the treatment of COVID-19 beginning Thursday, according to the Ohio Department of Health.

ODH spokeswoman Melanie Amato said the drug is not an effective treatment for COVID-19, Ohiostatehousenews.com and others are reporting. Amato said that Board of Pharmacy rule 4729:5-5-21 of the Administrative Code will go into effect Thursday, banning its distribution.

The rule prohibits selling or dispensing hydroxychloroquine and chloroquine for the treatment or prevention of COVID-19.

A few days ago, new information was made public about the success of hydroxychloroquine. Some of that information called it a cure for COVID-19.

Medical professionals attending an America’s Frontline Doctors Summit in front of the U.S. Supreme Court in Washington, D.C., on Monday addressed the media and the U.S. public about the country’s fight against COVID-19, OhioStatehousenews.com reports. A few of those professionals, including Dr. Stella Immanuel, spoke out against the current accepted virus treatment and the need to wear masks.

The FDA has cautioned against using hydroxychloroquine or chloroquine to treat COVID-19 patients.

From the Ohio Department of Health: On July 30, 2020, Board of Pharmacy rule 4729:5-5-21 of the Administrative Code goes into effect. In general, the rule prohibits all terminal distributors (including pharmacist, prescriber clinics, out-of-state pharmacies, and institutional facilities) from selling or dispensing hydroxychloroquine and chloroquine for the treatment or prevention of COVID-19. Please be advised that this rule replaces emergency rule 4729-5-30.2 and that all approvals for the use of these medications made under that rule are no longer applicable.

The implementation of the rule is based on the following developments:

  • June 15, 2020: Based on ongoing analysis and emerging scientific data, FDA has revoked the emergency use authorization to use hydroxychloroquine and chloroquine to treat COVID-19 in certain hospitalized patients when a clinical trial is unavailable or participation is not feasible. The agency made this determination based on recent results from a large, randomized clinical trial in hospitalized patients that found these medicines showed no benefit for decreasing the likelihood of death or speeding recovery. This outcome was consistent with other new data, including those showing the suggested dosing for these medicines are unlikely to kill or inhibit the virus that causes COVID-19. As a result, FDA determined that the legal criteria for the EUA are no longer met.
  • July 1, 2020: A summary of the FDA review of safety issues with the use of hydroxychloroquine and chloroquine to treat hospitalized patients with COVID-19 is now available. This includes reports of serious heart rhythm problems and other safety issues, including blood and lymph system disorders, kidney injuries, and liver problems and failure.

WHIO will continue to update this developing report.

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