| Hydroxychloroquine |
|A generic drug used to alleviate the symptoms of severe COVID-19 cases, with potential to significantly reduce the disease's case fatality rate.|
Hydroxychloroquine is a drug on the WHO's List of Essential Medicines, the safest and most effective medicines needed in a health system. In 2017, it was the 128th most commonly prescribed medication in the US with more than five million prescriptions.
Hydroxychloroquine has more than five million prescriptions per year. After it emerged as a possible treatment for COVID-19, concerns were raised about its safety.[By whom?] The Lancet published a paper suggesting it had heavy side effects, then withdrew it after it was discovered to have been published by a shell company. The RECOVERY study in the UK also suggested it was dangerous, but involved very high doses that exceeded its dose for other illnesses.
In a 23 March 2020 executive order, the Governor of New York, Andrew Cuomo, barred pharmacists from filling prescriptions for chloroquine or hydroxychloroquine as part of clinical trials for COVID-19. In early April 2020 Anthony Fauci opposed the use of either drug as a treatment for severe cases of COVID-19, instead recommending the experimental (and considerably more expensive) remdesivir.
In June 2020 the Association of American Physicians and Surgeons filed a lawsuit against Department of Health and Human Services and the FDA for their “irrational interference” to hydroxychloroquine for treatment of patients.