Rep. Annette Glenn, R-Midland, vice-chair of the House Appropriations Subcommittee on Licensing and Regulatory Affairs, Monday spoke with Michigan Department of Licensing and Regulatory Affairs representatives to ensure the promising drug hydroxychloroquine is available for coronavirus victims in Michigan.
Glenn and two of her legislative colleagues – subcommittee chair Rep. Jeff Yaroch, R-Macomb, and minority vice-chair Rep. Ronnie Peterson, D-Ypsilanti – were briefed on use of the anti-malaria drug that has shown promise in initial clinical trials as a treatment for coronavirus and has received support from the White House and federal Food and Drug Administration.
Glenn said LARA created widespread controversy last week when the agency issued a statewide order that was widely perceived by healthcare professionals as threatening the licenses of physicians who prescribed the drug for coronavirus treatment, and pharmacists who filled such prescriptions.
“I’ve heard from doctors and pharmacists in our community who were upset and concerned about LARA’s threat memo,” Glenn said. “Healthcare professionals and their patients in Bay and Midland counties need clear, unequivocal answers, to ensure they’re able to use any drugs or treatment available to save the lives of our family, friends, and fellow community members.”
Glenn said use of hydroxychloroquine in other states “has shown promise for people who are battling this terrible virus, and we must do all we can to help save lives here in Michigan. People should and do have the right to be prescribed this medication if their doctor deems it necessary, especially since Michigan has a Right to Try law passed in 2014 that guarantees potentially terminal patients the right to try any drug they believe may ease their suffering.”
During the phone conference, representatives from LARA clarified that the governor has not banned physicians from using these drugs if they believe they will benefit a patient. LARA told Glenn and her colleagues the intent of the order was to ensure the drug isn’t hoarded or prescribed in a manner that would leave the drug unavailable to people who desperately need it.
“Today was a first step in getting much-needed clarification to assure physicians and pharmacists they can freely prescribe and fill prescriptions for this coronavirus treatment,” Rep. Glenn said. “Things change daily with new state orders and rules, and I’ll continue to work with state officials to make certain local residents have the information and clarification they need, from determining which businesses and employees make up the essential workforce to ensuring patient access to drugs they need for treatment.”
“As we move forward, conversations such as these will continue, and I’ll continue to work with my colleagues of both parties, state agencies, and the governor’s office to address and solve the issues facing our residents during this unprecedented public health and economic challenge.”
Glenn urged residents who need information or assistance to contact her 517-373-1791 or at AnnetteGlenn@house.mi.gov.