The American Medical Association (AMA), American Pharmacists Association (APhA), and American Society of Health-System Pharmacists (ASHP) issued a joint statement on Mar 25 criticizing physicians, hospitals, and pharmacies for “inappropriately” purchasing “excessive” amounts of medicines that could potentially save lives threatened by COVID-19. These medicines, chloroquine and hydroxychloroquine, have been safely used for 70 years in treating malaria.
“Stockpiling these medications—or depleting supplies with excessive, anticipatory orders—can have grave consequences for patients with conditions such as lupus or rheumatoid arthritis if the drugs are not available in the community,” the statement reads. “The health care community must collectively balance the needs of patients taking medications on a regular basis for an existing condition with new prescriptions that may be needed for patients diagnosed with COVID-19. Being just stewards of limited resources is essential.”
The Association of American Physicians and Surgeons (AAPS) issued the following statement in response:
“Preparing in advance of an anticipated urgent need is the prudent and ethical thing to do—with medications just as with personal protective equipment and ventilators. Increased demand signals the need for increased production, and drug manufacturers are responding.
“There is rapidly accumulating evidence from a number of sources showing that prompt or prophylactic treatment with hydroxychloroquine, especially when combined with azithromycin and zinc sulfate, may successfully treat or prevent illness. New York physician Vladimir Zelenko states that of 699 patients he has treated with this $20 therapy, only four have been hospitalized and none have died. A French study also shows that a person is not contagious as long.
“Treating the people who care for patients, so they can continue working, is a high priority. Why do the AMA and others oppose this sensible action by physicians to protect themselves, their families, their colleagues, and their staff?
“Expanding available resources and providing the best possible care to all is the essential.”
The Association of American Physicians and Surgeons (AAPS) has represented physicians of all specialties since 1943.