Prosecutors threaten action against doctors hoarding coronavirus drugs

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Medical staff shows on February 26, 2020 at the IHU Mediterranee Infection Institute in Marseille, a packet of Nivaquine, tablets containing chloroquine, a commonly used malaria drug that has shown signs of effectiveness against coronavirus, according to a study conducted in several Chinese hospitals. – The Mediterranee infection Institute in Marseille based in La Timone Hospital is at the forefront of the prevention against coronavirus in France. (Photo by GERARD JULIEN / AFP) (Photo by GERARD JULIEN/AFP via Getty Images)

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COLUMBUS (WCMH) — Ohio Attorney General Dave Yost and federal prosecutors have promised to come down hard on doctors who hoard two drugs being used experimentally to treat COVID-19 infections.

The drugs, chloroquine and hydroxychloroquine are typically used to treat malaria, rheumatoid arthritis and lupus.

The Ohio Board of Pharmacy took steps to restrict the dispensing of the drugs over the weekend after it reported a sharp increase in prescribing. The board said it was attempting to prevent a ‘stockpiling’ of the drugs.

In order for patients to receive a prescription for Chloroquine and Hydroxychloroquine to treat COVID-19, they have to present the following:

  • A written diagnosis code from the prescriber.
  • If written for a COVID-19 diagnosis, the diagnosis would need to be confirmed by a positive test result that is documented on the prescription. In addition, the prescription would be limited to no more than a 14-day supply and no refills would be permitted unless a new prescription is written.

Monday, U.S. Attorneys David DeVillers and Justin Herdman, Ohio Attorney General Dave Yost and Ohio’s Pharmacy Board Director issued a joint statement promising to take action on doctors or others who abuse professional licenses to help themselves or associates.

“These are extraordinary times for the world, our nation, and the great state of Ohio. While we are seeing the absolute best of our healthcare professionals as they help to address the COVID-19 crisis, we will remain vigilant to address any self-serving behavior by any member of the medical community. Be assured that we will do our due diligence in holding accountable anyone who may be prescribing outside a legitimate medical purpose. Where we find doctors or others who are abusing their professional licenses to help themselves or associates, we will move swiftly to identify and prosecute any wrongdoing that is a violation of federal or state law. We are committed to pursuing all remedies to address misconduct associated with the allegations leading to the Board of Pharmacy action, including seeking criminal penalties where appropriate.”

Copyright 2020 Nexstar Broadcasting, Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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