Nevada Governor hustles to dispel ignorance regarding malaria drug use for COVID-19, chides Ted Cruz on Twitter

On March 23, Nevada Governor Steve Sisolak signed an emergency order that prevents the prescription and hoarding of anti-malaria drugs to treat the novel coronavirus. The issue of chloroquine became political last week when President Trump falsely said chloroquine had been approved by the FDA to treat COVID-19. President Trump’s erroneous statement not only prompted the hoarding activity, but a Phoenix, Arizona man intent to treat or prevent the novel coronavirus reportedly died after ingesting chloroquine phosphate, a chemical used to clean fish tanks.

According to the Nevada Governor’s emergency directive, the limit was imposed because some prescribers of the drug, that may or may not be effective in treating the novel coronavirus, have been hoarding chloroquine and hydroxychloroquine during the COVID-19 pandemic, a response to President Trump’s comment.

The Nevada State Board of Pharmacy adopted the emergency regulation in an emergency meeting on March 23. The order became effective when Governor Sisolak filed the document with the Secretary of State’s office on March 24.  The emergency rules will sunset in 120 days.

The directive not only limits the amount that can be prescribed at one time, it also highlights the fact that US Food and Drug Administration researchers are conducting studies to determine the efficacy of hydroxychloroquine and chloroquine as a treatment for COVID-19 and have yet to render a determination. The FDA has approved chloroquine for treatment of malaria, lupus and rheumatoid arthritis but has not approved the drug for treatment or prevention of COVID-19.

The Governor’s move to prevent hoarding and unapproved and potentially dangerous use of chloroquine and hydroxychloroquine inspired radio host Dan Bongino to refer to Governor Sisolak as “filth” for not allowing people to be treated for COVID-19 with chloroquine or  hydroxychloroquine.

US Senator from Texas, Ted Cruz, picked up on Bongino’s tweet and accused Nevada Governor Sisolak of not heeding science.

To date, Governor Sisolak’s social distancing and other COVID-19 policies have been rooted in science and consultation with stakeholders and experts. The Governor took to Twitter to correct Senator Cruz in a series of tweets.

Here is the link Governor Sisolak referred to in the above tweet.

Here is the link referred to in the tweet above.

Soon after the Twitter interaction, the Governor’s office reissued a press release that reiterates the intent of the emergency directive regarding chloroquine and hydroxychloroquine.

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