Most Pharmacists Recognize Malaria Drug’s Therapeutic Value

Majority of NCPA pharmacists support hydroxychloroquine and chloroquine for COVID-19 disease treatment

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According to the largest pharmacists association in the USA, pharmacists overwhelmingly disagree with recent actions by some states to limit the dispensing of a well-established malaria drug as a possible treatment for COVID-19 disease. 

COVID-19 is caused by the SARS-CoV-2 coronavirus, which was initially detected in China during 2019.

According to a new survey distributed on March 30, 2020, about 83 percent of independent pharmacists say they should be able to dispense a limited supply of malaria drugs, as long the patient has tested positive ..... and is under a doctor's care.

The malaria drugs include the ingredients, such as hydroxychloroquine and chloroquine.

Douglas Hoey, CEO of the National Community Pharmacists Association (NCPA), said in a related press release, "This is a well-established drug that has been in use for decades for malaria as well as other conditions.”

“We know it can be used safely with the proper oversight of a physician and pharmacist."

"There is limited data indicating that it may be effective against COVID-19, but Americans who are infected and their doctors have a right to try."

"This is a real concern for patients who are currently taking the drugs for other conditions, and who now cannot find it anywhere. The state restrictions are complicating that problem," Hoey said.

Some states are moving to restrict the dispensing of hydroxychloroquine and chloroquine because they do not have an FDA-approved indication for prophylaxis or treatment for COVID-19.

In fact, 66.8 percent of independent pharmacists believe the states that have restricted patient access to the drugs could be endangering patients’ lives.

"Many patients need these drugs for other serious conditions.” 

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“We hope to see more evidence to be optimistic that hydroxychloroquine and chloroquine could be effective for some people against COVID-19 disease," said Mr. Hoey. 

"Certainly, we need more data. But cutting off the supply for patients who are under the appropriate medical supervision and who could benefit is an overreaction."

According to recent US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) statements, pharmacies will soon become viable distribution locations for these medications.

On March 25, 2020, the FDA added hydroxychloroquine sulfate to category 1 under the Interim Policy on Compounding Using Bulk Drug Substances, Under Section 503B of the Federal Food, Drug, and Cosmetic Act. 

Around the world, certain countries are embracing these medications, such as India.

Amid rising coronavirus cases, India’s national task force for COVID-19 constituted by the Indian Council for Medical Research, recommended hydroxy-chloroquine as a preventive medication for high-risk populations.

According to a recent advisory from New Delhi on March 22, 2020, hydroxy-chloroquine should be given to high-risk populations, such as asymptomatic healthcare workers involved in the care of suspected or confirmed cases of COVID-19 disease and asymptomatic household contacts of laboratory-confirmed cases.

The NCPA COVID-19 Survey was conducted between March 26 and March 30. It was sent to approximately 8,000 independent pharmacy owners and managers, with 460 responding.

Note: To find an open pharmacy, RxOpen publishes information on the operating status of healthcare facilities. When the map is active for an event, users can use the Facilities map to search for individual facility status.

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