U.S. Sen. Ron Johnson (R-Wis.), chair of the Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs committees, was one of three senators who sent a letter to Food and Drug Administration (FDA) Commissioner Stephen Hahn asking the FDA to provide information about its decisions that have led to discouraging outpatient use of hydroxychloroquine (HCQ) for the early treatment of COVID-19.
The senators wrote that the FDA’s actions have “led to misinformation and confusion across the country,” causing some states to restrict the ability of physicians to write and pharmacies to fill HCQ and chloroquine (CQ) prescriptions. As a result, the senators argued, the FDA’s actions regarding HCQ “may be directly costing lives by limiting outpatient access to this potentially beneficial treatment.
“The licensed physicians we have heard from … have pointed to the low mortality rates in other countries – like India, Turkey, South Korea and Morocco – that are using HCQ widely on outpatient COVID-19 populations before the disease progresses to more lethal stages of the virus that require hospitalization,” according to the letter.
The senators asked that any public statements or records the FDA issues to clarify that it “does not regulate the practice of medicine and that state governments may not regulate the sale or prohibit the sale of prescription drugs,” according to the letter.