Our friends at the Society of Infectious Diseases Pharmacists distributed the following message to their members. PPA agrees with the content of the letter and we encourage our members to submit their concerns to States Board of Pharmacy.
Please see below:
During times of crisis such as COVID-19, our elected officials and state boards of pharmacy have the power to enact regulations so that pharmacists are able to provide increased care and have more opportunity to further protect the public health and safety.
One pressing issue in which pharmacists can assist is the recent surge in outpatient prescription of medication that have shown limited efficacy in the treatment of COVID-19, including chloroquine, hydroxychloroquine, mefloquine, and azithromycin. While there are currently no approved treatments for COVID-19, there have been several reports that prescriptions for these medications are being issued by prescribers in the community without indication, for persons without COVID-19 disease, often in large quantities with a high number of refills.
There is concern for hoarding of these medications which is resulting on a shortage for admitted patients with laboratory diagnosed COVID-19, or for their intended indication (i.e., hydroxychloroquine for patients with lupus). Several of these medications, including hydroxychloroquine and azithromycin, are now on shortage or are out-of-stock by distributors and may not be available for patients with COVID-19 disease.
At time of this communication, at least five states at this time have enacted emergency regulations to institute changes to help pharmacists limit prescriptions for these drugs and to reserve them for patients with COVID-19 patients who might need them most at this time.
Ohio & Nevada: Restrict the dispensing or sale of chloroquine and hydroxychloroquine to those with a prescription for the treatment of COVID-19; and limit quantity dispensed to a14-day supply with no refills
Idaho: Restrict the dispensing of chloroquine and hydroxychloroquine to those with a prescription with a written diagnosis consistent with evidence for its use; and limit quantity dispensed to a14-day supply with no refills
Texas: Restrict the dispensing of chloroquine, hydroxychloroquine, mefloquine, and azithromycin to those with a prescription with a written diagnosis consistent with evidence for its use from the prescriber; and limit quantity dispensed to a14-day supply with no refills
Rhode Island: New regulations to allow off-label prescribing to treat COVID-19 only if the prescription meets several requirement inducing indicating an applicable diagnosis code and indicating a telephone number for the provider to address questions related to dose and treatment, and documentation of clinical rationale for treatment
Several other states and boards of pharmacy are expected to enact emergency regulation to limit who can be prescribed of these treatments and how much, in the next few days.
We encourage you to send a letter to your boards of pharmacy / departments of health, to limit use of these medications and save them for patients with laboratory diagnosed COVID-19. Please use this template for your letter.
The Society of Infectious Diseases Pharmacists Board of Directors