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Ohio pharmacy board withdraws rule prohibiting use of hydroxychloroquine to treat COVID-19

Gov. DeWine said in a statement Thursday that prescribing hydroxychloroquine should be decided between a doctor and a patient.
This Monday, April 6, 2020, photo shows an arrangement of hydroxychloroquine pills in Las Vegas. (AP Photo/John Locher)

COLUMBUS, Ohio — Hours after Governor Mike DeWine asked the Ohio Board of Pharmacy to reconsider its decision banning the use of hydroxychloroquine and chloroquine to treat COVID-19 in Ohio, the board has withdrawn the rule.

The board said the decision was made "as a result of the feedback received by the medical and patient community and at the request of Governor DeWine."

"This will allow the Board to reexamine the issue with the assistance of the State Medical Board of Ohio, clinical experts, and other stakeholders to determine appropriate next steps," the board said in a statement. 

DeWine said Thursday morning he thought the decision to use the drugs should be made between a doctor and a patient.

“The Board of Pharmacy and the State Medical Board of Ohio should revisit the issue, listen to the best medical science, and open the process up for comment and testimony from experts,” DeWine said.

The use of the drugs to treat the coronavirus has been controversial. 

They have been prescribed to treat malaria, lupus and rheumatoid arthritis, the Food and Drug Administration said.

In May, President Donald Trump defended his use of hydroxychloroquine to prevent COVID-19, saying it was his decision to make.

The FDA revoked its emergency use authorization for the drugs to treat COVID-19 in June and in July posted a review of safety issues related to that use.

The FDA said there are reports of serious heart rhythm problems, blood and lymph system disorders, kidney injuries, and liver problems and failure.