Physicians Thank Trump, Say More Freedom Needed to Fight COVID-19

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In a letter to President Donald Trump, the Association of American Physicians and Surgeons (AAPS) thanked him for taking actions to curb the spread of COVID-19 pandemic by travel restrictions, border security, and regulatory relief.

But American patients may not be promptly receiving the treatments that are being used successfully in France and China. In this national crisis, President Trump should invoke his emergency powers to prohibit any interference with physicians who prescribe existing, approved drugs, AAPS states. The anti-malarial drugs chloroquine (CQ) and hydroxychloroquine (HCQ), widely used for 70 years, are showing dramatic results in COVID-19 patients especially when combined with the common antibiotic azithromycin. These drugs are currently in short supply, but can be made in large quantities quickly and safely. Yet the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) is proposing to make them available only under a “compassionate-use” exception, which is not legally necessary for drugs already approved for another indication. State regulatory authorities, such as the Texas State Board of Pharmacy and the State of Ohio Board of Pharmacy, are unjustifiably restricting prescriptions written for these life-saving medications.

American civil liberties and economic prosperity as well as lives are threatened by this pandemic. AAPS writes: “While we need to minimize casualties from COVID-19, we must also survive as a constitutional Republic. We must not overlook old potential allies like the one George Washington used to protect his troops, the bark that contained quinine, of which chloroquine and hydroxychloroquine are analogs.” Americans were somewhat protected against the malaria epidemic that raged in Virginia at the time; the British were not. This unappreciated ally may have helped to turn the tide at Yorktown.

Americans need the right to try potentially life-saving medication, the right to communicate freely, and the right to work efficiently without counterproductive bureaucratic shackles, AAPS explains. Lifting restrictions on private laboratories’ testing, bringing manufacture of critical supplies home, curbing abuse of power by government regulators, expediting professional licensure, and suspending bureaucratic billing and meaningless documentation requirements that devour more than 20 percent of professionals’ time are other measures advocated by AAPS.

The Association of American Physicians and Surgeons (AAPS) is a national organization representing physicians in all specialties since 1943.