Ohio's Pharmacy Board Bans Sale of Hydroxychloroquine

Carolyn Crist

July 30, 2020

Editor's note: After pushback on July 30 from Gov. Mike Dewine (R), the rule barring the prescription of hydroxychloroquine for COVID-19 was rescinded by the Ohio Board of Pharmacy.

The Ohio Board of Pharmacy banned the sale of hydroxychloroquine for the treatment or prevention of COVID-19, according to a statement issued on Wednesday,

The change went into effect immediately on Thursday, according to NBC4, a news station in Columbus.

Under the new rule, pharmacies and prescriber clinics can't sell or dispense hydroxychloroquine or chloroquine for the coronavirus without approval from the board's executive director. In addition, all prior approvals are now void and have to be resubmitted.

The rule doesn't apply to institutional review board-approved clinical trials that are evaluating the safety and efficacy of the two drugs to treat COVID-19. For participants to obtain the drug, they must have prescriptions and official documentation that they are enrolled in a trial.

Importantly, the ban doesn't apply to existing prescriptions that treat other chronic conditions, such as malaria, lupus and rheumatoid arthritis.

The board also included a list of frequently asked questions in the statement. The new requirements apply to inpatient prescriptions for hospitals and nursing homes, and prescribers can't personally provide these drugs for the treatment of COVID-19.

The board added a reminder that the FDA revoked the emergency use authorization for hydroxychloroquine and chloroquine to treat COVID-19 on June 15.

"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," according to the statement from the board.

Sources:

State of Ohio Board of Pharmacy, "Requirements for Dispensing or Selling Chloroquine and Hydroxychloroquine in Ohio."

NBC4, "Ohio Board of Pharmacy bans sale of hydroxychloroquine to treat coronavirus."

FDA, "FDA cautions against use of hydroxychloroquine or chloroquine for COVID-19 outside of the hospital setting or a clinical trial due to risk of heart rhythm problems."

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