Due to Multiple Allegations, the Michigan Bureau of Professional Licensing Sends Reminder of Appropriate Prescribing and Dispensing

The Department of Licensing and Regulatory Affairs (LARA) has received multiple allegations of Michigan physicians inappropriately prescribing hydroxychloroquine or chloroquine without a legitimate medical purpose.

According to LARA, the efficacy for treating COVID-19 with these drugs has not been scientifically proven and may create a shortage for patients with lupus, rheumatoid arthritis, or other ailments for which chloroquine and hydroxychloroquine are proven treatments.  As such, LARA issued a letter to all licensed prescribers and dispensers on March 24, 2020, warning them that prescribing and dispensing these drugs for COVID-19 could subject them to administrative actions against their licenses.

According to the letter, Michigan pharmacists may see an increased volume of prescriptions for hydroxychloroquine and chloroquine and should take special care to evaluate the prescriptions’ legitimacy.   Moreover, in the letter, LARA reminded all licensed health professionals of their duty to report inappropriate prescribing practices.

A copy of the letter is available at: https://www.michigan.gov/documents/lara/Reminder_of_Appropriate_Prescribing_and_Dispensing_3-24-2020_684869_7.pdf

In light of the race to find a cure to COVID-19, the letter has not been well received by a number of physicians and pharmacists who believe that LARA is unfairly limiting their ability to help their patients by threatening their off-label use of such medications to treat COVID-19.  LARA, on the other hand, is concerned with potential adverse consequences regarding such off-label use and the potential shortage that could ensue.  While New York has started clinical trials with such drugs to determine their efficacy, LARA’s letter makes no mention of what the State of Michigan is doing to determine their efficacy to combat the deadly COVID-19.

Should you have any questions or concerns regarding this letter from LARA or any Michigan pharmacy related matter, please do not hesitate to contact Robert S. Iwrey, Esq. at riwrey@thehlp.com as a significant portion of his practice involves Michigan pharmacy-related matters.

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