COLUMBUS, Ohio – A handful of Republicans at the Ohio State House on Thursday passed a bill to allow alternative drugs and treatments not approved by the Food and Drug Administration to treat COVID-19. Meanwhile, pharmacists said the bill is dangerous for several reasons.
Rep. Kris Jordan, R-Ostrander, is the primary sponsor of HB 631, which would allow physicians and pharmacists to prescribe drugs such as Ivermectin or Hydroxychloroquine to Ohioans suffering from COVID-19. The FDA has said that these drugs are not safe or effective in preventing or treating the virus.
Jordan could not be reached for comment.
Ernie Boyd, R.Ph., executive director of the Ohio Pharmacists Association, said that while the OPA has not decided whether to support the bill in its current form, the group supports physicians ‘and pharmacists’ rights to prescribe “off-label” drugs. while understanding the increased responsibilities that exist for both physicians and patients
“Research is constantly evolving. These drugs may be the best thing to treat the problem, or they may become something we do not want to use. One of the drugs, hydroxychloroquine, has serious heart side effects when combined with certain antibiotics and others. said Boyd. ,
The bill says a state agency, pharmacy or health facility could not suppress any promotion or access to the alternative treatments and could not “reprimand, threaten or punish” a doctor for doing so. If an agency or facility did, they could be sued.
The bill is likely to get more opposition from others in the medical community. In an email, Todd Baker, executive director of the Ohio State Medical Association, said: “We are just beginning to review the bill internally and have no comments at this time. It is clear that at any time policy makers are trying to legislate the clinical aspects healthcare is of concern to us. “
The bill has seven Republican co-sponsors who previously wanted the state to ban vaccine mandates. It has not yet been assigned a committee.