In what appears to be an escalating war against the use of hydroxychloroquine (HCQ) to protect against COVID-19, permitting over-the-counter (OTC) use under an emergency Executive Order may be the only way to allow patients to protect themselves, states the Association of American Physicians & Surgeons (AAPS).
Essential workers, in meat-packing plants, package delivery, medical care, and emergency response, among others, unavoidably face exposure. And personal protective equipment (PPE) may be unavailable or inadequate, notes AAPS.
In most states, physicians and pharmacies face unprecedented barriers to prescribing HCQ for prevention or early treatment of COVID-19, AAPS notes.
AAPS points out the following:
1. HCQ is safer than other OTC drugs, including aspirin, acetaminophen (Tylenol), diphenhydramine (Benadryl), and Plan B.
2. HCQ or chloroquine (CQ) has been used for more than 65 years in hundreds of millions of patients, and has been available OTC in many places.
3. No vaccine in history has been as safe.
4. No COVID-19 vaccine is currently available, and if one is approved, it will be on the basis of rushed and limited testing.
5. Numerous studies show that once a patient is severely ill, HCQ is unlikely to help. Neither is remdesivir or other antiviral drugs. Prevention or early treatment is key. Waiting to get a diagnostic test result, or waiting for the test to turn positive may mean missing the window of opportunity.
6. Once in the hospital, patients lose the ability to choose their treatment.
7. While fear of dangerous side effects is being stoked (only in COVID patients, not in lupus patients), use of HCQ in more than 300,000 older adults with multiple other illnesses showed a rate of (mostly non-fatal) cardiac rhythm disturbances attributable to the medication in only 47/100,000 users (.047%).
8. A number of studies and the experience of many physicians show that early HCQ, especially with zinc supplements, is highly effective in preventing severe disease and hospitalization.
9. There are no huge profits to be made from this old, cheap medication, in contrast to the billions to be made from a vaccine or new drug.
It is always advisable to consult your physician, AAPS states, but the only way to assure that powerful bureaucracies or vested interests cannot prevent patients from exercising freedom to choose is to make the drug available OTC.
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.