According to reports, Dr. Stephen M. Smith, the widely respected infectious disease specialist who back in April briefed President Donald Trump about the potential benefits of hydroxychloroquine, is no longer allowed to prescribe the drug at New York City-area hospitals. We have also learned that the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has pulled emergency approval for the drug.
This one-two punch means that patients in need will be hard-pressed to access the generic anti-malaria drug, which costs just a few pennies per pill and supposedly works well when combined with the mineral zinc.
"I have never heard of a hospital doing something like this," Dr. Smith told WND after learning about the decision, which was made by Dr. Lincoln Miller of the Saint Barnabas Medical Center in Livingston, New Jersey. Dr. Miller's new policy cites the recommendations of the hospital's Pharmacy and Therapeutics Committee.
"It goes against all my understanding of medical ethics in research," the physician, who graduated from the Yale University School of Medicine, as well as served as a research scientist at the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases under Anthony Fauci, is quoted as saying.
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The rationale behind the hydroxychloroquine prescribing ban is that the drug must be given as part of a clinical trial if it is to be given at all, seeing as how it is not approved for treating the Wuhan coronavirus (COVID-19). But according to Dr. Smith, this is invalid.
"It's totally unethical," he says. "You are not allowed to steer people into a clinical study. That's strong-arming people."
When WND tried to reach out to Dr. Miller for clarification, his office indicated that he would provide comment. But by publishing time, Dr. Miller had still not gotten back to WND, suggesting that he never had any intention of eludicating his stance.
Similarly, Alison Brophy, a member of the committee that made the recommendation to end all prescribing of hydroxychloroquine at New York City-area hospitals, could not be reached for comment.
Dr. Smith repeatedly emphasized the fact that this type of thing has never happened before, and that "it's a bad sign for medicine going forward." Doctors and hospitals have always been free to prescribe approved drugs for off-label purposes, and he is still planning to do this with hydroxychloroquine at the clinics he directs, including at the Smith Center for Infectious Diseases and Urban Health in East Orange, New Jersey.
It is clear that the anti-hydroxychloroquine crusade hinges upon the left's hatred towards President Trump who, because of his recommendation of the drug, single-handedly caused it to become blacklisted. And because of this politicization of medicine, patients are now being left to suffer and die.
"It's one thing to say you cannot get access to a drug that is not FDA approved," Dr. Smith says. "This drug has been approved by the FDA."
"More than half of what we do is off-label," he added, noting that prescribing an FDA-approved drug off-label is perfectly normal. "It's a huge infringement on the patient's rights and the doctor's ability to practice medicine."
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