Ohio moves to restrict prescriptions of drugs touted by Trump as potential coronavirus treatment

President Donald Trump listens as Director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases Dr. Anthony Fauci speaks during a coronavirus task force briefing at the White House, Friday, March 20, 2020, in Washington. (AP Photo/Evan Vucci)
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COLUMBUS, Ohio -- The Ohio Board of Pharmacy moved to prevent hoarding of a malaria drug that President Donald Trump has suggested could treat people with the coronavirus.

The board recently received reports of a significant increase in the prescribing of chloroquine or hydroxycholorquine.

To address this increased demand, the board took an emergency 7-0 vote Sunday by telephone on a new regulation designed to prevent hoarding of hydroxychloroquine and a similar drug — chloroquine — that are sold around the world under a variety of brand and generic names. Both are malaria drugs that are seeing a surge in nationwide demand after Trump suggested they could treat people with the coronavirus, even though the federal government's top infectious disease expert, Dr. Anthony Fauci, has said science does not support that idea.

Under the new regulation, pharmacists cannot dispense chloroquine or hydroxychloroquine or sell them for a COVID-19 diagnosis unless it fulfills various prescribing requirements, including a positive test result, and is limited to a 14-day supply. They are prohibited from selling the drugs for prophylactic use for the coronavirus​.

Currently, there is no medicine specifically approved for treating COVID-19.

The board said the rule will ensure the drugs are dispensed appropriately to patients who rely on them to treat conditions such as malaria, rheumatoid arthritis and lupus.

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