Correspondence to Licensed Prescribers and Dispensers (3/27/20)

On Tuesday, the Department of Licensing and Regulatory Affairs (LARA) sent correspondence to licensed prescribers and dispensers notifying them that LARA recognizes the growing state and national concern over licensees inappropriately prescribing hydroxychloroquine or chloroquine to themselves, family, friends, and/or coworkers without a legitimate medical purpose.

The purpose of the communication was to remind both prescribers and dispensers of their continued obligation to adhere to the standards of practice and exercise the professional judgment applicable to their professions.  Prescribing hydroxychloroquine or chloroquine with the intent to stockpile the drugs may create a shortage for patients with lupus, rheumatoid arthritis, and other ailments for which the drugs are proven treatments. 

The Michigan State Medical Society and the Michigan Pharmacists Association issued a joint statement on the subject:

“The Michigan State Medical Society and the Michigan Pharmacists Association recognize the need to maintain adherence to appropriate prescribing and dispensing of prescription drugs outlined in the Michigan Department of Licensing and Regulatory Affairs’ reminder that prescribing hydroxychloroquine or chloroquine 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. Any prescription medicine that may be effective in treating COVID-19 must be reserved for Michigan’s sickest and most vulnerable patients.”

The American Medical Association, American Pharmacists Association, and American Society of Health-System Pharmacists also issued a joint statement regarding the same subject:

“Stockpiling these medications — or depleting supplies with excessive, anticipatory orders — can have grave consequences for patients with conditions such as lupus or rheumatoid arthritis if the drugs are not available in the community. The health care community must collectively balance the needs of patients taking medications on a regular basis for an existing condition with new prescriptions that may be needed for patients diagnosed with COVID-19. Being just stewards of limited resources is essential.”

We understand that we are dealing with an unprecedented and challenging crisis, but we must all work together to address this virus and keep ourselves, our families, our friends, and our fellow Michiganders safe.

LARA appreciates the essential role of our prescribers and dispensers and recognizes their ability to make proper clinical decisions including following responsible prescribing and dispensing practices to combat drug hoarding and prevent unnecessary shortages.

The Department thanks all of the dedicated licensed health professionals and others who continue to provide the best possible care for Michigan’s citizens during this state of emergency.