Just days after Michigan’s governor threatened doctors who prescribed an experimental coronavirus treatment, her state is asking the U.S. government for shipments of the drug.
The administration of Gov. Gretchen Whitmer has requested shipments of hydroxychloroquine phosphate from the Strategic National Stockpile, Michigan Department of Health and Human Services spokeswoman Lynn Sutfin told Bridge magazine on Monday.
Whitmer, a Democrat who has been critical of President Donald Trump’s handling of the COVID-19 pandemic, issued a warning regarding the use of hydroxychloroquine on March 24 through the state’s Department of Licensing and Regulatory Affairs.
In a letter, the Whitmer administration threatened investigations and “administrative action” for prescribing hydroxychloroquine or chloroquine “without a legitimate medical purpose.”
“Again, these are drugs that have not been proven scientifically or medically to treat COVID-19,” the letter read.
The drugs in question have been available in the United States since the 1950s as a treatment for malaria and also have been approved for other ailments such as lupus and rheumatoid arthritis.
Trump last month suggested it as a potential treatment for coronavirus, citing reports of promising use cases overseas.
The Strategic National Stockpile accepted 30 million doses of hydroxychloroquine sulfate from drug maker Sandoz and 1 million doses of chloroquine phosphate from Bayer Pharmaceutical.
Virologists and researchers in France first identified hydroxychloroquine as a potential treatment after testing it on a handful of COVID-19 patients in the country. Six patients taking the drug, in combination with the antibiotic azithromycin, recovered within a week.
Democrats and liberals have criticized Trump for promoting hydroxychloroquine and chloroquine as potential coronavirus treatments.