Governor Walz lifted the restrictions on access to hydroxychloroquine, a drug that has been in use for decades to treat a wide variety of illnesses – including SARS-type infections – that some say may be an effective therapeutic for COVID-19. The removal of limitations on the drug were outlined in Walz’s latest executive order issued last week.
Walz did not give an explanation for the reversal of his order on the drug.
The lifted restrictions statewide means that pharmacies no longer have the power to restrict access to the trial drug. The order also explains more behind the original reason for restricting access to hydroxychloroquine:
[W]e no longer need to limit the use of chloroquine or hydroxychloroquine because these medicines have not been proven to be effective treatments for COVID-19 and are no longer in high demand.
Executive Order 20-23 issued March 27th originally restricted access to hydroxychloroquine as an option for treating COVID-19. That order only mentioned a concern over possible shortages of the drug. The drug’s effectiveness was not mentioned as a reason for restriction.
Controversy over the use of hydroxychloroquine became widespread after President Trump tweeted about the drug’s potential life-saving capabilities.
Hydroxychloroquine is a drug derived from quinolone, traditionally used to treat arthritis, malaria, and lupus. Clinical trials offer mixed results when tested as a treatment for COVID-19. Some research concludes that it is largely ineffective, and its critics are divided as to whether or not it causes heart and liver failure. Other research indicates that it does help patients to recover from the coronavirus when taken in conjunction with zinc.
Certain medical professionals offer an explanation for these mixed results: they say the drug only works when administered early on in the course of illness in the course of a full treatment plan.
As press time, the Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) offers nothing on their website pertaining hydroxychloroquine – other than its traditional uses prior to the pandemic.
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