Ohio reverses decision on hydroxychloroquine ban, following appeal by Gov. DeWine

Under the new rule in Ohio, all medical institutions would have been prohibited from prescribing and dispensing hydroxychloroquine

Updated: August 1, 2020 - 5:29pm

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On Thursday, the Ohio Board of Pharmacy withdrew its order banning the use of hydroxychloroquine to treat the novel coronavirus. The decision comes following an appeal by GOP Gov. Mike DeWine asking the board to reevaluate its rule. 

In opposing the board's ban, DeWine cited the view of FDA Commissioner Stephen Hahn, who said in a radio interview on Tuesday, "We believe the decision about whether a doctor writes for hydroxychloroquine, for a patient with COVID, is completely in the realm of the doctor-patient relationship." 

The new regulation in Ohio was due to go into effect on Thursday. It would have prohibited pharmacies, clinics, and other medical institutions from prescribing or selling hydroxychloroquine and the related drug chloroquine for the purposes of treating the novel coronavirus. 

The drug, which has for years been approved by the Food and Drug Administration to treat malaria and other diseases, received emergency agency approval early in the pandemic to treat virus patients. 

The drug has proven effective in some cases but has also been criticized as ineffective.

Under the Ohio rule, all previously approved prescriptions for the drugs would have been "deemed void," according to the state pharmacy board, which has approved its use for treating malaria and arthritis. 

"The long and short of it is, we want people to focus on what works, such as social distancing and mask use," a pharmacy board spokesperson told The Columbus Dispatch. "We ultimately want to make sure people are being safe and not exposing themselves to drugs that have shown not to be effective in treating COVID-19."

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