State reports ‘multiple allegations’ of doctors stockpiling drugs

LANSING, Mich. (WOOD) — State regulators sent a memo Tuesday evening to all licensed doctors and pharmacists entitled “Reminder of Appropriate Prescribing and Dispensing.”

“The Department of Licensing and Regulatory Affairs has received multiple allegations of Michigan physicians inappropriately prescribing hydroxychloroquine or chloroquine to themselves, family, friends, and/or coworkers without a legitimate medical purpose,” wrote state regulators in a letter that began, “Dear Licensed Prescribers and Dispensers.” 

Hydroxychloroquine and chloroquine are anti-malarial drugs that have shown early promise as potential treatments for COVID-19.

“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,” wrote state regulators responsible for overseeing Michigan’s physicians and pharmacists.

The memo reminded physicians that prescriptions must “be associated with medical documentation showing proof of the medical necessity and medical condition for which the patient is being treated.”

Officials also went on to note that the anti-viral drugs in question have not been proven scientifically or medically to treat COVID-19.

Regulators advised pharmacists to “take special care to evaluate” the legitimacy of any prescriptions for hydroxychloroquine and chloroquine.

The letter reiterated that, under state law, pharmacists “shall not fill” a prescription if they think it will be used for something other than a legitimate medical purpose or believe it could harm the patient.

“It is also important to be mindful that licensed health professionals are required to report inappropriate prescribing practices. LARA appreciates all licensed health professionals for their service and cooperation in assuring compliance in acting responsibly while continuing to provide the best possible care for Michigan’s citizens during this unprecedented and very challenging time,” wrote LARA officials.

The letter was signed by the directors of LARA’s Bureau of Professional Licensing and its Enforcement Division.