War on hydroxychloroquine: Texas doctor describes ‘alarming’ barriers to treating patients

by WorldTribune Staff, May 15, 2020

Despite overwhelming positive results in treating coronavirus patients, a Texas doctor said the state’s pharmacy board is putting up “alarming” barriers which make it extremely difficult to prescribe hydroxychloroquine.

In an interview on the Thursday broadcast of Fox News’s “The Ingraham Angle”, Dr. Ivette Lozano said the board asked her to reveal private medical information about her patients when she tried to write prescriptions for the drug.

Fox News host Laura Ingraham with Dr. Ivette Lozano

Show host Laura Ingraham noted that the Left is politicizing the FDA-approved drug that has been in use for decades and has “been used for off label use for years and years” but has become “radioactive” because President Trump has touted its effectiveness against COVID-19.

Related: Texas doctor speaks out about the barriers to treating coronavirus, May 13, 2020

Lozano said: “Every patient that I’ve treated — serious, moderate — has had resolution of symptoms within 24 hours. Within five hours the fevers are gone, within two days. The lung restriction, which is the most important, resolves within about four to five hours, you see dramatic improvement. It’s incredible. I’m surprised myself.”

But the pharmacy board is now making it almost impossible to prescribe hydroxychloroquine, Lozano said:

“I wrote a prescription and had the pharmacist call me and let me know that he could not fill that without me disclosing the diagnosis of the patient. And so we had a little scuffle on the phone and I told him I couldn’t do that because of HIPAA [privacy] laws and he was insistent that the laws have been changed and the pharmacy board has passed a mandate that that drug could not be discussed unless it was accompanied by a diagnosis.”

The Dallas-based doctor continued: “Yesterday I wrote five prescriptions for hydroxychloroquine and I sent them to a pharmacy that I use and have used for the last 20 years, and I actually got a phone call from the pharmacist letting me know that she was not going to refill another prescription for me for hydroxychloroquine.

“I told her she couldn’t do that, that these patients were sick and that if I wrote the prescription she needed to fill these and she told me that she was not going to fill another prescription for me. I said I need your name and I’m going to call the pharmacy board and she said ‘I have the right to deny to fill this prescription for you.’ ”

Lozano went on to say she asked the pharmacist if there were no pills left but was informed they had 100 in the location.

“I told her, let’s just order some more. You can overnight this medication,” she said. “The prescription costs $13. And I had so many very, very sick patients in the office. Now, today was horrible because I treated 15 people that needed 15 prescriptions, could not go there, had to scour all over Dallas to try to get these prescriptions.”

The new rule adopted in March by the Texas State Board of Pharmacy directs that prescriptions for chloroquine, hydroxychloroquine, mefloquine, or azithromycin must be accompanied with a diagnosis, and cannot be for more than a 14-day supply – unless the patient was already taking the medication.

Lozano, who owns the urgent care center, Lozano Medical Clinic, said she has patients who are not even hers coming from different cities in Texas to be treated.

“I have severe patients in the office. I’ve had patients that have been diagnosed with pneumonia and been turned away from clinics. I’ve got patients that have been turned away from hospitals. I’ve got patients coming in with temperatures of 102.9, white blood cell counts of 17,000, all positive COVID tests,” she told Ingraham.

“Their physicians are refusing to give them medication for fear that they are going to be in trouble with the licensing board,” she said. “And the issue that we have now is that I’ve got pharmacists who are refusing to fill this medication. So this is critical now. I have a huge problem on my hands.”

Meanwhile, whistleblower Rick Bright said during House testimony on Thursday that he opposed a White House directive to allow widespread access to hydroxychloroquine. Bright was ousted last month as head of a Health and Human Services biodefense agency.

At the White House on Thursday, the president was still bullish on hydroxychloroquine. “We’ve had tremendous response to the hydroxy,” Trump said. “So, a lot of people have sworn by it, and we’ll see.”

Republican Rep. Markwayne Mullin of Oklahoma criticized Bright for continuing to collect his $285,000 salary while first on sick leave for a spike in blood pressure, and now on vacation as he tries to straighten out his work situation.

“You’re too sick to go into work, but you’re well enough to come here while getting paid,” said Mullin. “I have a hard time understanding that.”

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