CLEVELAND — Some Ohio doctors are under the microscope for self prescribing the drug Hydroxychloroquine, which is now being used to treat some COVID-19 patients.
Authorities said immediately after President Trump mentioned the drug showing promise in fighting COVID-19, Ohio pharmacies saw an uptick in prescriptions.
"We were seeing about double or triple the demand that is typical, " said Antonio Ciaccia, Ohio Pharmacist Association. Pharmacists were so concerned, Ciaccia said, the Pharmacist Association went to the State of Ohio Board of Pharmacy about doctors inappropriately prescribing the drug.
New mandates about dispensing the drug were almost immediately rolled out after a rare emergency Sunday morning meeting.
"In essence, they were stockpiling the drug," said Ciaccia.
Now, the doctors who inappropriately prescribed the drug are being looked at by state and federal authorities.
"When you see doctors prescribing themselves one thousand pills, the day after President Trump makes the announcement, it is very alarming and something that we cannot tolerate," said U.S. Attorney of the Northern District of Ohio, Justin Herdman.
The feds now have a price gouging and hoarding task force surrounding the coronavirus pandemic.
"The Board of Pharmacy is working closely with the State Medical Board, The Ohio Attorney General's Office and the U.S. Attorney to investigate possible violations of laws and rules regarding the prescribing of chloroquine and hydroxychloroquine. Depending on the nature of the violation, a prescriber may be subject to criminal charges and/or administrative sanctions by their respective licensing Board," said Cameron McNamee, State of Ohio Pharmacy Board.
Ohio's Attorney General, Dave Yost, is urging doctors who took part in the self prescribing of the drug to self report to the Ohio Medical Board.
The drug is also prescribed for patients suffering from lupus and rheumatoid arthritis.