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Missouri boards urge restraint on prescribing drugs hyped by Trump

Missouri boards urge restraint on prescribing drugs hyped by Trump

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President Donald Trump speaks during a coronavirus task force briefing at the White House, Friday, March 20, 2020, in Washington. From left, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo Vice President Mike Pence, Trump, White House coronavirus response coordinator Dr. Deborah Birx and Director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases Dr. Anthony Fauci. (AP Photo/Evan Vucci)

The Missouri boards that regulate physicians and pharmacists on Monday issued a joint statement designed to prevent hoarding of drugs that President Trump has suggested could treat people with the coronavirus.

But unlike other states that have taken action to stop healthy patients from stockpiling drugs, the statement was advisory only, leaving doctors and pharmacies to police themselves.

No medicines have been approved for treating COVID-19. Trump has pointed to reports that the anti-malaria drug hydroxychloroquine has been effective and should be made available quickly. Dr. Anthony Fauci, head of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, cautioned the evidence it is effective against COVID-19 is, so far, anecdotal. New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo said Sunday that a study of the drug will start this week.

The Missouri State Board of Registration for the Healing Arts and the Missouri Board of Pharmacy, in a joint statement Monday, said they have seen “increased reports of prescriptions being issued” for hydroxychloroquine, a related drug, chloroquine, and another drug hyped by Trump, the antibiotic azithromycin. Doctors are writing prescriptions for healthy people to stock up on the drug in case they get sick.

The danger is that people who need the drugs for other health problems won’t be able to obtain them, the boards said.

The boards advised doctors that prescribing the drugs for prophylactic use was “discouraged” and that they should not prescribe them for family, friends or co-workers in anticipation of a COVID-19-related illness.

Pharmacies were recommended to use caution when filling prescriptions for the drugs, although the boards did not advise them to outright refuse to fill prescriptions.

Noting that Missouri is not one several states that have issued 14-day supply limits for the drugs, the boards said licensees should consider limiting dispensing of the drugs during the state of emergency without a supporting medical diagnosis.

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