Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer (D) is threatening doctors who over-prescribe chloroquine, a proven malaria drug that President Trump has touted as potentially effective in combating coronavirus, by demanding they turn in any colleagues who do.
The Detroit News opinion page was the first to note that Whitmer’s Department of Licensing and Regulatory Affairs sent a letter to doctors and pharmacists on March 24 warning of professional consequences of prescribing the drug, which has reportedly been effective in other parts of the world.
According to the letter:
Prescribing hydroxychloroquine or chloroquine without further proof of efficacy for treating COVID-19 or with the intent to stockpile the drug may create a shortage for patients with lupus, rheumatoid arthritis, or other ailments for which chloroquine and hydroxychloroquine are proven treatments. Reports of this conduct will be evaluated and may be further investigated for administrative action. Prescribing any kind of prescription must also be associated with medical documentation showing proof of the medical necessity and medical condition for which the patient is being treated. Again, these are drugs that have not been proven scientifically or medically to treat COVID-19.
The letter requires pharmacists to police — and potentially second-guess — the health recommendations of doctors.
“A pharmacist shall not fill a prescription if the pharmacist believes the prescription will be used for other than legitimate medical purposes or if the prescription could cause harm to a patient,” the letter stated.
The communication urged healthcare professionals to turn in colleagues they believe may be violating the threatening order:
It is also important to be mindful that licensed health professionals are required to report inappropriate prescribing practices. LARA appreciates all licensed health professionals for their service and cooperation in assuring compliance in acting responsibly while continuing to provide the best possible care for Michigan’s citizens during this unprecedented and very challenging time.
The News noted Henry Ford Hospital and the University of Michigan — two premier healthcare facilities in the state — have both been using chloroquine and azithromycin to treat patients with coronavirus symptoms.
It is not clear if that will stop because of the governor’s letter.
“During a time of crisis, in which physicians continue to see patients despite not having enough protective gear, this threatening, authoritarian stance from our governor is counterproductive at best,” the News opined.