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MS Lawmaker Creates Unnecessary Petition to Allow Use of Perfectly Legal Medication

STATEWIDE – No laws prevent doctors from prescribing hydroxychloroquine “off label” in the state of Mississippi, but that didn’t stop one lawmaker from promoting a petition drive to convince Governor Tate Reeves to allow the use of the (already allowed) drug.

Hydroxychloroquine has been a hot topic in the news for weeks. Despite multiple studies by national and world health organizations concluding that the drug is ineffective against COVID-19, former reality TV star, Donald Trump, continues to lead droves of unquestioning followers to rally for its use. State Rep. Dana Criswell is one of those followers, but he is apparently no more capable of understanding state law than he is of accepting the advise of medical professionals – because the state of Mississippi does not ban the prescription of medications for “off label” use.

The term “off label” refers to the prescription of a drug for a purpose other the conditions for which it has been officially approved. It means that in the state of Mississippi, doctors and pharmacists can already prescribe hydroxychloroquine (or any other FDA-approved drug) for the treatment of COVID-19.

No petition needed.

Following warnings from the U.S. Food & Drug Administration (FDA), the National Institutes of Health (NIH), and the World Health Organization (WHO), some national pharmacy chains prohibited the prescription of hydroxychloroquine for the treatment of coronavirus due to its documented ineffectiveness against COVID-19 and the laundry-list of potentially devastating side effects it may cause. Some of those national chains do exist in Mississippi – but representatives of the Mississippi Board of Pharmacy and the Mississippi State Board of Medical Licensure have clarified that independent pharmacists and many other national chains with a presence in the state are still permitted to prescribe the drug at will.

The Mississippi Board of Pharmacy issued a warning last week about the use of hydroxychloroquine and similar compound, chloroquine, as a treatment for COVID-19. It states, “there are no FDA-approved or clinically proven therapies for treatment of COVID-19” and discourages the use of either medication outside the heavily-monitored hospital setting. “There is a potential for toxicity with these medications”, the statement reads, but their prescription in the state of Mississippi – however ill-advised – is not banned.

Several national and world health organizations did initially explore the use of hydroxychloroquine as a treatment for coronavirus, but discontinued its use after studies concluded that the medication was ineffective against COVID-19. The NIH halted its use in June of this year, while the WHO pressed on for another two weeks, eventually halting use of the drug in July.

The FDA’s warning details the potential safety concerns of using hydroxychloroquine, which includes “reports of serious heart rhythm problems and other safety issues, including blood and lymph system disorders, kidney injuries, and liver problems and failure”.

Aleigh Farris

Aleigh Farris is a writer, performer, and small business owner from Tupelo, Mississippi. You can hear her work on the upcoming podcasts Radio Analekta and Once Shattered.

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