President Trump disclosed that he was taking hydroxychloroquine (HCQ) with zinc to protect himself against COVID-19—with the approval of his physicians. Although some in the media may find this startling or concerning, the Association of American Physicians & Surgeons (AAPS) states that thousands and probably millions of people worldwide are doing likewise.
In the U.S., however, patients and physicians who wish to use this long-approved drug, taken safely by 100 million patients over 70 years, are running into barriers set up by the FDA, governors, and state bureaucracies. Among the reports brought to the attention of AAPS is that of a family physician who cannot obtain HCQ for his nursing-home patients.
“It is perfectly legal for physicians to prescribe an approved drug for a newly discovered indication, and very frequently done,” states AAPS. “It is unprecedented for licensure boards to threaten pharmacists who dispense or physicians who prescribe ‘off-label.’”
“Basic science research from 15 years ago provides solid reason to expect that HCQ could be effective early in COVID-19, preventing hospitalization and death, and clinical experience from the U.S. and around the globe bears this out,” states AAPS. “It is not likely to work well in seriously sick patients, the only ones who can get it under the FDA’s emergency use authorization (EUA).”
In late April, the FDA issued a new special warning about potential heart problems from use of HCQ in COVID-19—which advises patients with other conditions to continue taking it because benefits exceed the risks.
“The benefit of potentially preventing thousands of hospitalizations and deaths vastly exceeds the risks of HCQ, which has an outstanding safety record,” states AAPS. “And if President Trump’s doctor can prescribe it, why can’t yours?”
The Association of American Physicians and Surgeons (AAPS) has represented physicians of all specialties in all states since 1943. The AAPS motto is omnia pro aegroto, meaning everything for the patient.