Dallas Dr. Yvette Lozano has been sounding the alarm on the Texas Pharmacy Board imposing serious restrictions on doctors prescribing a medicine proven to be beneficial to coronavirus patients: hydroxychloroquine.
The drug has been used for decades, “been used for off label use for years and years,” Lozano says. But since President Donald Trump has suggested it could be effective in treating the coronavirus, the state board implemented restrictions in mid-March.
“I wrote a prescription and had the pharmacist call me and let me know that he could not fill that without me disclosing the diagnosis of the patient,” Lozano explained. “And so we had a little scuffle on the phone and I told him I couldn’t do that because of HIPAA [privacy] laws and he was insistent that the laws have been changed and the pharmacy board has passed a mandate that that drug could not be discussed unless it was accompanied by a diagnosis.”
The rule adopted by the board directs doctors to provide a diagnosis with any prescription for chloroquine, hydroxychloroquine, mefloquine, or azithromycin, which doctors argues violates their patients’ privacy rights. The rule also says the medicine cannot be prescribed for more than a 14-days – unless the patient was already taking the medication– prior to the coronavirus.
This makes no sense– why does it matter when the patient was prescribed the medicine to determine when they could actually get it and for more than a 14-day amount?
Lozano, who owns an urgent care center, Lozano Medical Clinic, says patients are coming to her from different cities in Texas to be treated.
“I have severe patients in the office,” she told Ingraham. “I’ve had patients that have been diagnosed with pneumonia and been turned away from clinics. I’ve got patients that have been turned away from hospitals. I’ve got patients coming in with temperatures of 102.9, white blood cell counts of 17,000, all positive COVID tests.”
“Their physicians are refusing to give them medication for fear that they are going to be in trouble with the licensing board,” she added. “And now, the issue that we have now is that I’ve got pharmacists who are refusing to fill this medication. So this is critical now. I have a huge problem on my hands.”
Asked if the medication has been successful in treating her patients, Lozano said it has been “incredible.”
“Every patient that I’ve treated — serious, moderate — has had resolution of symptoms within 24 hours. Within five hours the fevers are gone, within two days. The lung restriction, which is the most important, resolves within about four to five hours, you see dramatic improvement,” she said.
“It’s incredible,” she added. “I’m surprised myself.”
According to a report by investigative reporter Sharyl Attkisson, who interviewed Dr. William O’Neill, he’s found that hydroxychloroquine has helped his patients.
He told Attkisson, “I’ve never seen science politicized in 40 years of practice.”
Cardiologist Dr. William O’Neill practices medicine at the Henry Ford Health System in Detroit, Michigan, a group that is studying remdesivir and hydroxychloroquine and remedies for the coronavirus.
“Some people in the media are treating hydroxychloroquine as if it’s something that’s being pitched by charlatans, it’s dangerous, and that’s been debunked and discredited,” Attkisson said in her interview. “What do you make of that?”
Dr. O’Neill said, “I think that’s very harmful. President Trump touted it early and so then the media set out to disprove and discredit it without any regard for science. I think those of us that are actually involved in the scientific endeavor feel that there is some value to it and it has to be tested.”
Dr. O’Neill says he’s prescribed hydroxychloroquine to help numerous coronavirus patients and saw improvement in all of them, Attkisson reports.
“How did the anti-malaria pill hydroxychloroquine go from scientists saying it was a great hope for treating and even preventing coronavirus… to a media campaign that called it dangerous quackery?” Attkisson asks.
“We followed the money and talked to scientists who have their own idea as to what is going on.”