April 16, 2020 By Michael Dorgan
Council Member Robert Holden wants the federal government to increase the supply of anti-malarial drug hydroxychloroquine to New York pharmacies in order to help doctors treat people with COVID-19 from home.
Holden said he supports Governor Andrew Cuomo’s plans to ask U.S. President Trump Donald Trump to raise the federal supply of hydroxychloroquine to New York pharmacies. This would enable the state to lift its current restrictions on purchases of the drug which some doctors have been using to treat patients with COVID-19.
Holden said the move would save lives by giving doctors the ability to prescribe the drug for patients to use at home and would also relieve the burden on crowded hospitals.
Hydroxychloroquine is usually used to treat and prevent malaria but has been prescribed by some doctors to treat COVID-19 patients.
However, the drug has attracted controversy because the FDA has not approved it to be used to treat COVID-19 and President Donald Trump has repeatedly touted it as a mitigation drug for the disease. Some experts have questioned its safety, particularly for heart patients and medical opinion is divided on its efficacy in fighting COVID-19.
Cuomo has also said that there was anecdotal evidence that the drug had positive effects on treating COVID-19.
In an April 8 letter sent to the governor, Holden said that several of his constituents told him that they were successfully treated with a combination of hydroxychloroquine and azithromycin at New York hospitals and have fully recovered.
Therefore he wants doctors to be able to administer the drug to patients at home despite the drug not being tested.
“While I understand the need for a conclusive scientific study on the effectiveness of this drug in treating COVID-19, I believe that the anecdotal evidence is too strong to ignore,” Holden wrote.
“Increasing the supply of hydroxychloroquine to New York pharmacies could give doctors the ability to prescribe this treatment at home, keep more people from being admitted to the hospitals, and ultimately save lives,” he said.