Coronavirus: Dayton’s U.S. Attorney issues warning to doctors about medication

The U.S. Attorney serving Dayton issued a warning that they will hold medical professionals illegally prescribing medication in the wake of the coronavirus outbreak accountable.

A press release from the office of David DeVillers said in a joint statement with the Ohio Attorney General and the Ohio Board of Pharmacy executive director that pharmacists are prohibited from dispensing chloroquine or hydroxychloroquine for COVID-19 unless a person has tested positive for the virus or is approved by the pharmacy board’s executive director.

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“While we are seeing the absolute best of our healthcare professionals as they help to address the COVID-19 crisis, we will remain vigilant to address any self-serving behavior by any member of the medical community,” the joint statement says. “Be assured that we will do our due diligence in holding accountable anyone who may be prescribing outside a legitimate medical purpose.”

Ohio Department of Health Director Dr. Amy Acton said during Sunday’s press conference that her office has heard prescriptions for hydroxychloroquine are on the rise. She said that’s an issue because the medication is important to people with rheumatologic diseases.

“We can’t have a rush on this drug in asymptomatic people,” Acton said. “There is a limited supply of it.”

“This is a social contract, folks. We got to work together,” she said. “My team has reached out to the pharmacy board, we got to limit the prescription to 14 days if we are going to use it in these compassionate use circumstances so people don’t stockpile it or sell it or misuse it.”

The U.S. prosecutors said they will investigate misuse.

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“Where we find doctors or others who are abusing their professional licenses to help themselves or associates, we will move swiftly to identify and prosecute any wrongdoing that is a violation of federal or state law,” the joint statement said. “We are committed to pursuing all remedies to address misconduct associated with the allegations leading to the Board of Pharmacy action, including seeking criminal penalties where appropriate.”

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