Coronavirus

COLUMBUS -- Ohio Gov. Mike Dewine on Thursday asked the Ohio Board of Pharmacy to rescind its ban on hydroxychloroquine as a potential treatment for COVID-19.

On Wednesday, the board issued a memo barring pharmacists, licensed distributors of drugs and medical institutions from prescribing the anti-malaria drug hydroxychloroquine to treat or prevent the novel coronavirus.

The rule, which went into effect Thursday, blocks sale of the drug for COVID-19 treatments which has become a national political and medical controversy since President Trump advocated its usage early in the pandemic.

Under the order, no prescription can be dispensed by a pharmacist and a licensed distributor of dangerous dangerous drugs will not be permitted to sell it, including hospitals and nursing homes.

"Prescriptions issued for chloroquine or hydroxychloroquine for prophylactic use related to COVID-19 or for the treatment of COVID-19 are strictly prohibited unless otherwise approved by the board's executive director in consultation with the board president," the memo states.

DeWine called on the board to suspend its new rule.

“I agree with the statement from Dr. Steven Hahn, Commissioner of the Food and Drug Administration, that the decision about prescribing hydroxychloroquine to treat COVID-19 should be between a doctor and a patient," the governor said in a statement.

"Therefore, I am asking the Ohio Board of Pharmacy to halt their new rule prohibiting the selling or dispensing of hydroxychloroquine or chloroquine for the treatment or prevention of COVID-19.

"The Board of Pharmacy and the State Medical Board of Ohio should revisit the issue, listen to the best medical science, and open the process up for comment and testimony from experts," DeWine said.

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