Louisiana Attorney General Jeff Landry, along with assistance from State Senate Health and Welfare Chairman Fred Mills, has announced a major donation by Amneal Pharmaceuticals to help respond to the deadly coronavirus pandemic.
Landry announced that Amneal will donate 400,000 hydroxychloroquine sulfate tablets to the State of Louisiana. Landry said:
On behalf of Louisiana, I want to thank Amneal for this generous donation. It is important we all work together to help solve the COVID-19 Coronavirus crisis. We must come together as Louisianans and as Americans. This donation from Amneal demonstrates their strong effort to be a good corporate citizen in our Nation.
In his announcement, Landry also reminded everyone of the social distancing guidelines that have been put into place:
I wish to remind everyone of the importance of social distancing guidelines issued by the President and state officials, Amneal’s donation is one step toward trying to find treatments and cures for this epidemic. Right now, there are no silver bullets. We must remain vigilant against the spread of this virus.
Mills described Amneal’s donation as “remarkable” and praised the pharmaceuticals company for working with him and Landry.
“I commend Amneal for working with Attorney General Jeff Landry and me in bringing forward this remarkable donation to benefit citizens of Louisiana,” Mills said.
Chirag and Chintu Patel, Co-Chief Executive Officers of Amneal, said:
All of us at Amneal are committed to supporting our communities in the global fight against COVID-19. We are working with urgency to assist the hardest-hit states and hospitals around the country to benefit as many patients as possible during this critical time.
An emailed press release from Landry’s office noted:
The Louisiana State University School of Medicine is working to launch two different clinical trials using hydroxychloroquine in relation to COVID-19. One trial will utilize hydroxychloroquine on those who have significant COVID-19 disease. The other trial protocol will use and test the drug as a preventative measure for those healthcare workers on the front lines battling the epidemic. Trials will be conducted at the University Medical Center in New Orleans and at the LSU Medical School locations in Baton Rouge and Lafayette.
“I sincerely appreciate the efforts of Attorney General Jeff Landry and Senator Fred Mills working with Amneal to bring this donation to the citizens of Louisiana,” said Dr. Steve Nelson, Dean of LSUHSC School of Medicine.
“This donation will allow us to conduct clinical trials examining how hydroxychloroquine may help clear the virus from the lungs of infected patients and to potentially help shield healthcare workers who are on the front lines treating patients,” Nelson added.
Landry’s office also noted:
The hydroxychloroquine donation by Amneal comes at an important time. The Louisiana Board of Pharmacy has noted serious concerns over the availability of this drug and has issued specific guidance on the dispensing of the drug, including its March 25th guidance noting that it should be dispensed for COVID-19 when the prescription bears a COVID-19 diagnosis.
In addition to its donation to Louisiana, Amneal has also donated millions of hydroxychloroquine sulfate tablets in total to other states, including New York and Texas. The company said they would donate more as needed to those states and also announced donations of products to hospitals across the country.
Hydroxychloroquine sulfate was first synthesized in 1946 and is in a class of medications historically used to treat and prevent malaria. Today, Amneal’s hydroxychloroquine sulfate tablets are approved by the United States Food and Drug Administration (FDA) to treat malaria, rheumatoid arthritis, lupus, childhood arthritis, and other autoimmune diseases. Hydroxychloroquine is not FDA-approved for the treatment of COVID-19, but it has been identified as a possible treatment for COVID-19.