- The Washington Times - Wednesday, April 1, 2020

Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer has asked the federal government for hydroxychloroquine and chloroquine, days after her administration came under criticism for a statewide crackdown on the drugs touted by President Trump for the novel coronavirus.

The request from the Michigan Health and Human Services Department was made after the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) issued an emergency-use authorization Monday for the drugs, which have long been approved for treating malaria, lupus and rheumatoid arthritis.

“Based on the FDA’s Emergency Use Authorization to allow the use of hydroxychloroquine sulfate and chloroquine phosphate products donated to the Strategic National Stockpile (SNS) for certain patients with COVID-19, we are pursuing a request for hydroxychloroquine/chloroquine from SNS,” said Lynn Sutphin, Michigan HHS spokesperson, in an email.

The request, first reported by the nonprofit Bridge Michigan, came after the state Department of Licensing and Regulatory Affairs warned doctors against prescribing the drugs, citing lack of evidence about their efficacy against COVID-19 and reports of stockpiling, adding that reports of such conduct “may be further investigated for administrative action.”

Pharmacists were also instructed not to fill prescriptions if they believed they could be used for reasons “other than legitimate medical purposes” or “cause harm to a patient,” adding that medical providers had an obligation to report “inappropriate prescribing practices.”





The Trump administration said Monday that it had received 30 million doses of hydroxychloroquine sulfate donated by Sandoz and one million doses of chloroquine phosphate donated by Bayer Pharmaceuticals for the national stockpile of pharmaceuticals and medical supplies.

At a Monday press conference, Ms. Whitmer said her administration needed to be “nimble in this crisis,” adding that “we are continually updating and adjusting as we need to.”

She said she had received “positive feedback” on her guidance from the medical community.

“We want to ensure that doctors have the ability to prescribe these medicines,” Ms. Whitmer said. “We also want to make sure that people who have prescriptions that predated COVID-19 have access to the medication that they need. And so all of the work that we’ve done is trying to strike that balance.”

The Democrat Whitmer has sparred publicly with Mr. Trump during the coronavirus, faulting the federal government for failing to provide enough medical and safety equipment, prompting him to retort last week that “all she does is sit there and blame the federal government.”

As of Wednesday, Michigan had listed 7,615 confirmed cases of COVID-19 and 259 deaths in a state of about 10 million people.

• Valerie Richardson can be reached at vrichardson@washingtontimes.com.

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