In my last article, I asked several questions regarding the use of hydroxychloroquine and the hydroxy (HCQ) cocktail for treating the Wuhan Flu (COVID-19) here in Alaska. Here are the questions:
- What is the overall availability of hydroxychloroquine in Alaska?
- Is there any state or federal restriction / prohibition against its use and dispensing outside a hospital setting (outpatient or prophylactic use).
- If so, what is the source of those restrictions / prohibitions?
- Would the State of Alaska consider deregulating hydroxy and making it available over the counter like it is in other nations (India, for example)?
The responses to the questions are as follows. Verbiage is lifted directly from an e-mail from HSS.
- It is commercially available with no current or anticipated shortages
- No, even though the FDA revoked the Emergency Use Authorization (EUA) for COVID, medications such as these can be used “off label”, however it is up to the prescribing and dispensing providers to determine clinical use, safety, risk vs benefit, and appropriateness on an individual patient basis. Basically if a provider does not think medication is safe for the person or effective for the reason they can refuse to prescribe or dispense with clinical reasoning.
- There are none
- A state cannot make this type of regulation, it would have to be made at a federal level from the FDA
Basically, this is really good news for Alaskans, for while the State is not all that supportive of the use of hydroxy or the cocktail to treat the virus, they are not actively discouraging its use, leaving Alaskans yet another option for treating the virus.
My only remaining question would be the ongoing quarantine requirement. If the proponents of the use of hydroxy are correct and its early use (starting immediately after testing positive) will clear the virus from the system in 4-5 days, why is the State not recommending a combination of hydroxy and multiple testing rather than a rigid quarantine?
It could be that the new, less sensitive and much cheaper testing is not available in Alaska as yet. This ought to change, though.
Overall, a useful research project with some good news. Special thanks to State Senator Natasha von Imhof for her assistance in tracking this information down.
Alex Gimarc lives in Anchorage since retiring from the military in 1997. His interests include science and technology, environment, energy, economics, military affairs, fishing and disabilities policies. His weekly column “Interesting Items” is a summary of news stories with substantive Alaska-themed topics. He was a small business owner and Information Technology professional.