The prescribing of three medications touted by President Donald Trump as a possible cure for COVID-19 has been limited under an executive order issued by Gov. Larry Hogan.
Hogan’s executive order, signed Tuesday but posted on his website a day later, bans the prescribing of chloroquine and hydroxychoroquine, two drugs used to treat malaria and some other immunological diseases, and azithromycin, an antibiotic, for treatment of patients with undiagnosed COVID-19 or to prevent undiagnosed COVID-19.
Earlier this week the Maryland State Board of Physicians issued an alert expressing concern about the use and hoarding of the drugs.
“The Board is also aware of numerous reports that prescribers are inappropriately issuing prescriptions and refills for those medications and hoarding or stockpiling the medications for themselves, family members, friends, and coworkers without any apparent medical indication, or in anticipation of COVID-19 related illness,” according to the board’s alert. “The Board is concerned that the inappropriate prescribing and stockpiling of the medications is causing shortages of those drugs and compromising access to drug therapy for patients who are prescribed the drugs for FDA approved indications.”
Trump has described the drugs as “a game changer” in fighting the pandemic. Clinical trials involving the drugs are being conducted, including one started last week by the National Institutes of Health.
Hogan’s order, effective immediately, requires prescriptions for the drug to be written by doctors licensed in Maryland who have a documented relationship with the patient. The prescription must also include documentation as to the medical reason for the prescription.
The order allows the prescribing of the drug for patients who have been confirmed to have COVID-19 but limits prescriptions to a 14-day supply. Clinical trials and hospital uses are also permitted under the order.