Pharmacy Board Chloroquine Restrictions Lapse


The Texas State Board of Pharmacy’s (TSBP’s) emergency rule restricting prescriptions of chloroquine, hydroxychloroquine, mefloquine, and azithromycin has expired, and board regulations on prescribing those drugs have now returned to normal, TSBP confirmed to Texas Medicine Today.

The emergency rule expired July 17. Issued in March, the rule had required prescriptions for those four drugs to include “a written diagnosis from the prescriber consistent with the evidence for its use.” It also limited new prescriptions for the drugs to a 14-day supply and prohibited refills without a new prescription or medication order.

“The rule is gone,” TSBP Executive Director Allison Benz told Texas Medicine Today.

Touting of the anti-malarial drugs chloroquine and hydroxychloroquine as potential treatments for COVID-19 caused reported runs on the drugs in the early days of the pandemic. However, relying on guidelines from the National Institutes of Health, the Texas Medical Association’s COVID-19 Task Force has recommended against using chloroquine or hydroxychloroquine to treat COVID-19, “except in a clinical trial.” The FDA has cautioned against using either drug for COVID-19 “outside of the hospital setting or a clinical trial due to risk of heart rhythm problems.”

TSBP’s guidance, issued after the emergency rule went into effect, clarified that its intent was to “prevent the stockpiling of the drugs and to ensure that reasonable quantities are available for ALL patients that require therapy with the drugs, including patients with a COVID-19 diagnosis.”

Ms. Benz said that was no longer a concern for the board.

“I haven’t heard any issues with the stockpiling,” she said. “From what I’m hearing from people that are in pharmacies and that kind of thing, I don’t think there’s any issue with that, and I don’t think there has been for a while now.”

Stay on top of the latest news, resources, and government guidance on the coronavirus outbreak by visiting TMA’s COVID-19 Resource Center regularly.

Last Updated On

August 05, 2020

Originally Published On

July 23, 2020

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