Local Pharmacists Worried About Doctors Prescribing Themselves Drug That Could Treat Coronavirus

CHARLOTTE, N.C. – Local pharmacists are sounding the alarm about doctors prescribing themselves hydroxychloroquine, a drug being tested to treat coronavirus.

There are concerns it could lead to a shortage for people who use the drug for other illnesses.

“Let’s see if it works. It might and it might not. It might and it might not,” President Trump said during a news conference last week. “I feel good about it. But who knows? I’ve been right a lot.”

Now, local pharmacists report they’ve become overwhelmed with scripts, mostly from doctors, including eye doctors and plastic surgeons, prescribing it to themselves, their families, and their staff.

“It’s a shame that it ever happens,” says Jesse Pike, owner of Pike’s Pharmacy.

He says while it’s unethical, it also increases the risk people who need the drug right now, won’t be able to get it.

“Rheumatoid arthritis, systemic lupus. These are chronic illnesses that require continued use of this medicine,” Pike explains.

The North Carolina Board of Pharmacy says some wholesalers are now reporting shortages of hydroxychloroquine.

The board released guidance reminding pharmacists they can, “…refuse to fill prescriptions that, in pharmacist’s professional judgment, are not clinically appropriate.”

Pike says researchers are looking at hydroxychloroquine because of its anti-inflammatory effects.

“It also can prevent some kinds of interaction with cells in the lung,” Pike says.

But he also says people shouldn’t be taking it for coronavirus until it’s properly tested.

“What we need to do is what we know works, we don’t know whether these drugs work or not in these cases, they have not been proven,” Pike says.

The North Carolina Board of Pharmacy says so far there has only been anecdotal evidence of the drug’s usefulness treating coronavirus.

They say those in public health are working to get better data on its potential and most appropriate use.