Expand search form

A Voice for Private Physicians Since 1943

Repurposed Drugs Needed for COVID-19

Drug repurposing, an old concept of using already approved medications for the treatment of new conditions, emerged as one of most divisive elements of the response to the COVID-19 pandemic, writes Jane Orient, M.D, in the summer issue of the Journal of American Physicians and Surgeons. As a result, patients’ access to early treatment of COVID-19 was and remains limited.

Two repurposed drugs for COVID-19, hydroxychloroquine (HCQ) and ivermectin (IVM), gained enormous public notoriety, such as has been seen with few other medications. Quickly, a politicized struggle ensued. Right-wing-oriented politicians and people embraced them; left-leaning officialdom and its acolytes rejected and suppressed them, Dr. Orient writes.

Since the COVID-19 pandemic started more than 4 years ago, a massive amount of information has been gathered regarding the safety and actions of these two drugs during their use for the early treatment of COVID-19. Nonetheless, they remain a partisan bone of contention, she states.

Drug repurposing previously depended on serendipity or pure luck. Since 2004, there has been a formal, deliberate, and rigorous process of discovery of new uses, which can bring a new treatment to patients much more quickly and affordably than novel drug development. Initially, it was eagerly embraced by academia—until HCQ was promoted for COVID-19, Dr. Orient observes.

Officialdom contends that studies show HCQ to be ineffective, glossing over the fact that some prominent studies were shown to be fraudulent. There is a virtually unprecedented discrepancy between formal clinical trials data showing “absolute lack of efficacy” and the massive tacit informal clinical observations that show that this treatment works. The article presents reasons for doubting the official consensus, and concludes that there are no valid reasons for denying HCQ to suitable patients who request this treatment.

The previous tactics used by the “medical freedom movement” to obtain regulatory approval have failed because of the power asymmetry favoring officialdom. Hence a new strategy is needed, Dr. Orient writes.

“The heavily politicized obstruction of safe, affordable, effective treatment is not acceptable and must be changed, most realistically by aggressive legislative actions,” the article concludes.

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

Read Full Article: https://jpands.org/vol29no2/orient.pdf

Previous Article

Bad-faith Physician Peer Review May Violate False Claims Act and Other Laws

Next Article

AAPS Signs Doctors Protecting Children Declaration