Florida allows doctors to prescribe off-label drugs to treat Covid

by WorldTribune Staff, March 4, 2022

Doctors in Florida may now prescribe off-label drugs that have been shown to prevent or treat Covid, the state’s Department of Health said in its new COVID-19 guidance for health care practitioners.

Gov. Ron DeSantis and Florida Surgeon General Dr. Joseph Ladapo / Governor’s Press Office

The guidance, published on Feb. 24, says that health care practitioners are encouraged to provide early treatment for Covid patients with federally approved generic drugs that they find will work. That’s in addition to the outpatient treatments granted emergency authorization usage (EUA) for people at risk of developing a serious illness.

“When recommending COVID-19 treatment options for patients’ individualized health care needs, physicians should exercise their individual clinical judgment and expertise based on their patient’s needs and preferences,” the guidance states. “These options may include emerging treatments backed by quality evidence, with appropriate patient informed consent, including off-label use or as part of a clinical trial.”

Florida Republican Gov. Ron DeSantis said of the new guidance: “We want people to be able to have a right to access these medications, especially if they’re in a situation where nothing else has worked.”

The guidance also states that doctors can make a report to the Agency for Health Care Administration if their hospital prevents them from treating their patients who wish to try certain medications not recommended by federal health agencies.

“So now doctors who practice medicine in the way that they think is most appropriate for their patients, when they receive pushback from hospitals, we have an avenue for them to file a complaint with our Agency for Health Care Administration,” said Florida Surgeon General Dr. Joseph Ladapo.

The new guidance is also an effort by DeSantis to offer health care practitioners protection from lawsuits, the report noted.

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