Among our most fundamental and sacred rights is the right to medical freedom. But in the curious case of hydroxychloroquine, it seems that the government, media, and pharmaceutical industry have been fighting tooth and nail to make the drug unavailable – despite overwhelming evidence that it can prevent and treat COVID-19.
In Ohio, however, a ban on hydroxychloroquine is being reversed. Thanks to the strong leadership of Governor Mike DeWine, the State of Ohio Board of Pharmacy has reversed a rule that would prohibit the sale of hydroxychloroquine for the treatment or prevention of coronavirus.
It could mean the difference between life and death for high-risk patients.
Starting in August, pharmacies, clinics, and other medical institutions were to be prohibited from dispensing or selling the drugs to treat COVID-19, according to regulations issued by the State of Ohio Board of Pharmacy. They could still be used in clinical trials, said Cameron McNamee, director of policy and communications for the board.
Proponents of the ban (which have been instituted in other states across the nation) insist that HCQ is not an effective treatment for COVID-19, citing potential side effects as the reason for the ban. Under the regulation, pharmacists in Ohio found to be selling or dispensing the drug to treat COVID-19 could have faced disciplinary action ranging anywhere from a warning or fine to a temporary suspension of their license.
But Governor DeWine has a unique perspective on the issue. “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,” the governor said in a statement via Twitter. “The Ohio Board of Pharmacy and @ohiomedboard should revisit the issue, listen to the best medical science, and open the process up for comment and testimony from experts.”
And he’s exactly right: medical interventions are a personal decision in which the government has absolutely no business meddling. This is especially encouraging given the extremely political (and at times inexplicable) war that has been fought around the malaria drug. The controversy became mainstream after President Trump announced in May that he was using hydroxychloroquine as a preventative measure to ward off the novel coronavirus.