The Association of American Physicians & Surgeons is asking a court to order the federal government to release its stockpile of hydroxychloroquine for the treatment of COVID-19.
The case challenges the Department of Health and Human Services’ withholding of millions of doses of hydroxychloroquine that were donated to HHS and the Food and Drug Administration.
“Why does the government continue to withhold more than 60 million doses of HCQ from the public?” asked Jane Orient, M.D., the executive director of AAPS. “This potentially life-saving medication is wasting away in government warehouses while Americans are dying from COVID-19.”
Her organization released a chart showing that in nations where hydroxychloroquine is allowed and encouraged – such as South Korea, Israel, India and Russia – the case fatality rate is in the range of 1%.
But in nations where hydroxychloroquine is banned or discouraged – such as Italy, France, Belgium and the U.S. – the case fatality rate ranges as high as 18%.
“Millions of Americans fear attending political gatherings, religious services, and even large family get-togethers without the availability of early treatment if they were to contract COVID-19,” AAPS said. “Why should Americans have to wait until they or a loved one is on a ventilator before they gain access to medication to overcome this virus?”
The court move is intended to compel the government to release the drug from its stockpile.
“Reports of an uptick in COVID-19 in Arizona and elsewhere could then be handled without irrational, unjustified limitations on this medication imposed by the FDA,” the organization said.
“The interference with public access to hydroxychloroquine is disrupting our political processes,” noted AAPS general counsel Andrew Schlafly. “Perhaps that is what some want, in order to deter Americans from attending political conventions and even voting, but it is unconstitutional for the FDA to infringe on these constitutional rights by blocking access to this safe medication.”
The AAPS position aligns with that of President Trump adviser Peter Navarro, Ph.D., who rejected the obstruction by FDA officials to making the medication available to the public.
“A perfect storm of politics in this presidential election year, along with conflicts of interest at the defendant federal agencies, has resulted in unjustified obstacles to access to HCQ, an inexpensive medication having a track record of more than 75 years of safety,” AAPS told the court in its brief.
“Last week the FDA even misled the public by falsely stating that HCQ should not be used to treat COVID-19, when multiple studies show its benefits, and thousands of patients have been successfully treated worldwide,” AAPS said.