News & Politics

Michigan Governor Reverses Ban on Chloroquine, Requests Medication From National Stockpile

Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer speaks with reporters, Tuesday, Feb. 4, 2020, at her office in Lansing, Mich., about delivering the Democratic response tonight to President Donald Trump's State of the Union address. She says she will focus on "dinner-table issues" such as infrastructure, jobs and health care. (AP Photo/David Eggert)

For a few weeks now, President Trump had been touting chloroquine’s potential as an effective treatment for coronavirus patients, prompting allegations from his enemies in the Democratic Party and the media of pushing “false hope” and “peddling snake oil.” Last week, the Michigan Department of Licensing and Regulatory Affairs (LARA) effectively banned the use of hydroxychloroquine or chloroquine to treat coronavirus patients, threatening doctors with “administrative action” if they prescribed it for that purpose:

Prescribing hydroxychloroquine or chloroquine without further proof of efficacy for treating COVID-19 or with the intent to stockpile the drug may create a shortage for patients with lupus, rheumatoid arthritis, or other ailments for which chloroquine and hydroxychloroquine are proven treatments. Reports of this conduct will be evaluated and may be further investigated for administrative action. Prescribing any kind of prescription must also be associated with medical documentation showing proof of the medical necessity and medical condition for which the patient is being treated. Again, these are drugs that have not been proven scientifically or medically to treat COVID-19.

But on Monday, Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer, a Democrat, seemingly changed her tune on the drugs. “We want to ensure that doctors have the ability to prescribe these medicines. We also want to make sure that the people who have prescriptions that predated COVID-19 have access to the medication they need. And so all of the work that we’ve done is trying to strike that balance.” Whitmer is now is “pursuing a request” for the Trump-touted medications from the Strategic National Stockpile.

Whitmer is reportedly being considered as a running mate for Joe Biden.

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Matt Margolis is the author of Trumping Obama: How President Trump Saved Us From Barack Obama’s Legacy and the bestselling book The Worst President in History: The Legacy of Barack Obama. You can follow Matt on Twitter @MattMargolis