Nevada Governor Restricts Use of Promising Drug Chloroquine to Fight Coronavirus

Several days after President Trump touted the drugs chloroquine and hydroxychloroquine as promising treatments for COVID-19, the governor of Nevada has signed an emergency order barring non-hospital doctors from prescribing the drugs to fight the disease.

Democrat Gov. Steve Sisolak said in a statement on Tuesday that there’s no consensus among experts that the drugs can help people suffering with the coronavirus.

“This emergency regulation protects Nevadans who needs these drugs for legitimate medical purposes. At this point in time, there is no known cure for COVID-19 and we must not withhold these drugs from those who need them,” Sisolak said in a statement. “The best way to prevent the spread of COVID-19 is to stay home for Nevada, not to stockpile these drugs.”

Chloroquine and hydroxychloroquine have been used safely for decades to treat malaria amebiasis, lupus, rheumatoid arthritis and blood disorders.

The president touted chloroquine as a promising treatment for coronavirus, during a briefing at the White house, last Thursday.

Trump said the drug has shown “very, very encouraging early results,” and vowed to make the drug available “almost immediately.”

Dr. Fauci, the director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, later clarified that the drug still needs to be tested to make sure it can be used safely to treat COVID-19 in the United States.

A small clinical study in France has yielded promising results, and a larger trial is being conducted in Europe to evaluate chloroquine and three other experimental treatments to fight the coronavirus.

One American who was suffering with COVID-19 claims that hydroxychloroquine saved his life.

Rio Giardinieri, a 52-year-old Florida man, thought he was at the end of his rope after suffering with “a fever for five days, horrendous back pain, headache, cough,” and extreme fatigue for more than a week.

Doctors told him there was nothing more they could do and Giardinieri said goodbye to his wife and three children.

“I was at the point where I was barely able to speak and breathing was very challenging,” Giardinieri said. “I really thought my end was there.”

After a friend told him about hydroxychloroquine, Giardinieri talked his doctor into letting him try it.

An hour after he was administered an IV with the medicine, Giardinieri said his heart felt like it was “beating out of his chest.”

“They had to come in and get me calmed down and take care of me,” he said. “I had another episode about two hours later where I just got to the point where I couldn’t breathe and my heart was pounding again so they gave me some Benadryl through the system and something else. I’m not sure what it was. It allowed me to go to sleep and when I woke up at exactly 4:45 in the morning, I woke up like nothing ever happened.”

Since then, he’s had no fever or pain, feels fine and is able to breathe.

Giardinieri said: “To me, there was no doubt in mind that I wouldn’t make it until morning. So to me the drug saved my life.”

The anti-Trump media nonetheless have accused the president of offering “false hope” to Americans stricken with the disease, and have even blamed him for the death of a Phoenix-area man after he and his wife—who was in critical condition—ingested chloroquine phosphate, an additive used to clean fish tanks that is not for human consumption.

Update:

The public health expert who advised Governor Sisolak to prohibit the use of hydroxychloroquine for Coronavirus treatment isn’t licensed to practice medicine in the United States.

Dr. Ihsan Azzam, Nevada’s chief medical officer, “earned his medical degree from Cluj University of Medicine in Romania in 1982 and completed his OBGYN residency in 1986,” according to his bio on the Department of Health and Human Services Nevada Division of Public and Behavioral Health (DPBH) website.

Azzam said “he practiced for several years as an obstetrics and gynecology physician in Africa before moving to the United States in the 1990s,” the AP reported in September of 2018.

Reportedly, that qualifies Azzam for the job of Nevada’s Top Doc under Nevada state law.

Correction:

This post has been updated to indicate that Gov. Sisolak issued an emergency order restricting the use of chloroquine and hydroxychloroquine to fight COVID-19 rather than outright banning its use.

About Debra Heine

Debra Heine is a conservative Catholic mom of six and longtime political pundit. She has written for several conservative news websites over the years, including Breitbart and PJ Media.

Photo: (Photo by Alex Wong/Getty Images)

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