Utah Buying Hydroxychloroquine In Bulk; Drug Panned By Doctors
SALT LAKE CITY, Utah – As coronavirus cases continue to grow across the country, health officials in Utah are stocking up on an anti-malaria drug to treat the virus – despite warnings from doctors that the medication shouldn’t be used until more testing is done.
State leaders said the idea is to be proactive and to set up a model where the drugs can be distributed if needed.
The Utah Department of Health is purchasing 20,000 doses of hydroxychloroquine from the Utah-based compounding pharmacy Meds in Motion. COVID-19 patients with a prescription will be able to get the drug at a local pharmacy free of charge.
However, a new study suggests the drug does not work to treat the coronavirus, and there were more deaths among those given the medication than those who received standard care.
There are currently additional studies underway at the University of Utah and Intermountain Healthcare. Researchers hope to have more results on the drug’s effectiveness in about three months.
Rep. Suzanne Harrison, D-Draper, a physician and former president of the Salt Lake County Medical Society, said she has “concerns about the state spending taxpayer dollars on unproven treatments with significant risks.”
She said the drugs belong in clinical trials and not in pharmacies.
The state’s deal to buy the hydroxychloroquine has not yet been finalized, and neither has the pricing.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.
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