Saturday, March 28, 2020

Politics in the Time of Pandemic: The Political Fight Over Hydroxychloroquine

As the nation waits on results from the ongoing clinical trial in New York on the use of the anti-viral hydoxychloroquine to treat coronavirus - information likely expected in the coming weeks if not days - a cynical political battle has begun brewing over its use, with at least one blue-state governor actually threatening physicians and pharmacists if they prescribe the drug to COVID-19 patients.

The political battle over hydroxychloroquine is tied to the president's touting it as a potential game changer prior to the clinical trial in New York, with his detractors asserting that because it is used "Off-label" to treat coronavirus, it's a risky proposition to let doctors prescribe it for use to treat pandemic victims.

This practice is even accepted by the FDA. Furthermore, given the severity of the COVID-19 pandemic and the promise of these medications the FDA has avoided condemning the "Off-label" use of hydroxychloroquine for COVID-19.

Of course some of the pushback around the use of hydroxychloroquine comes from a small study conducted in China that insists the drug has no effect as a treatment for COVID-19.

Recently, the national task force for covid-19 constituted by the ICMR had recommended the use of hydroxychloroquine for treatment of the virus-infected, high-risk population.

The French have already produced a well-known study that recommends "COVID-19 patients be treated with hydroxychloroquine and [antibiotic] azithromycin to cure their infection and to limit the transmission of the virus to other people in order to curb the spread of COVID-19 in the world."

As people in America anxiously peer out their quarantine windows and negotiate the insanity of playing politics in the time of pandemic, data from New York's clinical trial of hydroxychloroquine cannot come soon enough.

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