FACT CHECK: Viral Post Claims Nevada ‘Quietly’ Reversed Its Decision To ‘Block’ Hydroxychloroquine Prescriptions For COVID-19 Treatment
A viral Instagram post claims Nevada “quietly” reversed its “decision to block HCQ prescriptions for COVID-19.”
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Nevada’s emergency regulation for hydroxychloroquine expired. The emergency regulation, while in effect, prohibited doctors from prescribing hydroxychloroquine for COVID-19 treatment in outpatient settings but did not apply to doctors prescribing for such a purpose in inpatient settings.
Democratic Nevada Gov. Steve Sisolak signed on March 24 an emergency regulation that limited the circumstances under which doctors could prescribe hydroxychloroquine for COVID-19 patients, according to the Las Vegas Review-Journal. The drug, officially approved to treat malaria and some autoimmune diseases, was previously touted by President Donald Trump and others as a potential treatment for COVID-19.
This particular Instagram post, which features a screen grabbed tweet, alleges the Nevada government “quietly” reversed the emergency regulation recently, saying, “Nevada is now the 7th state to quietly reverse their decision to block HCQ prescripts for COVID-19. Physicians in Nevada can now once again prescribe HCQ as they deem necessary.”
That is, however, incorrect. Sisolak’s emergency regulation was not “quietly” reversed, but rather it expired at 11:59 p.m. local time on July 21 and has not been renewed, according to the Nevada Board of Pharmacy’s website. Brett Kandt, general counsel for the Nevada Board of Pharmacy, confirmed to Check Your Fact that the regulation expired.
“The emergency regulation expired after 120 days by operation of law pursuant to NRS 233B.0613,” Kandt said in an email. “IF the Board had intended to make the regulation permanent it could have adopted a permanent regulation.” (RELATED: Have New York, Nevada And Michigan Banned Hydroxychloroquine Prescriptions For COVID-19 Patients?)
He also noted that “there are currently no restrictions on prescribing or dispensing hydroxychloroquine or chloroquine.” Prior to its expiration, the emergency regulation prohibited doctors in outpatient settings from prescribing and dispensing hydroxychloroquine and chloroquine for COVID-19 treatment and limited prescriptions to 30-day supplies to prevent stockpiling, per the Las Vegas Review-Journal. It did not apply to doctors who ordered the drugs for COVID-19 treatment in an inpatient setting, according to CNN.
“This regulation DOES NOT prohibit prescription of these drugs for inpatient treatment. In other words, if a doctor in a hospital or emergency room setting wants to prescribe these drugs to treat a patient diagnosed with COVID-19, he or she is still free to do so,” Sisolak tweeted in March.
The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) in June revoked its emergency use authorization (EUA) to use hydroxychloroquine and its chemical cousin chloroquine to treat hospitalized COVID-19 patients, saying that “recent data from a large randomized controlled trial showed no evidence of benefit for mortality or other outcomes such as hospital length of stay or need for mechanical ventilation of HCQ treatment” in such patients. The FDA has also said that “in light of ongoing serious cardiac adverse events and other serious side effects, the known and potential benefits of CQ and HCQ no longer outweigh the known and potential risks,” according to an FDA document related to the EUA revocation.
The tweet screen grabbed in the Instagram post originated with Dr. Simone Gold, a member of America’s Frontline Doctors, a group that, per The Associated Press, has spread false information about COVID-19.