US doctors are hoarding supplies of drugs that are being tested for treating coronavirus, a disconcerting new report reveals.
A ProPublica investigation found that doctors are prescribing drugs like hydroxychloroquine, a therapeutic approved for treating malaria and lupus that President Trump has hailed as a promising drug for coronavirus, to themselves.
The Illinois Pharmacists Association was alerted to the trend its director called 'disturbing' over the weekend, and it has issued a warning against prescribing these sorts of drugs without an established relationship with patients who have meet criteria.
And Illinois isn't the only place facing this unsettling issue.
Pharmacists in Miami and Houston have had similarly suspicious prescriptions called in by doctors making large orders of the drugs to stockpile and lupus patients throughout the US have complained they can't get their medications.
Hydroxychloroquine has shown some potential for treating coronavirus in China, where production of the drugs has resumed (pictured). In the US, doctors are prescribing the drug to themselves and hoarding it
President Trump touted the drug as a 'game-changer' despite the fact that it has not been proven effective for coronavirus, fueling interest in and shortages of hydroxychloroquine
'It’s disgraceful, is what it is,' said Garth Reynolds, executive director of the Illinois Pharmacists Association of doctors' behavior in the state.
'And completely selfish.'
He told ProPublica that his association received a slew of complaints starting on Saturday from pharmacists who were getting calls from doctors trying to prescribe drugs like hydroxychloroquine and azithromycin to themselves, friends and family members.
Hydroxychloroquine is sold under the brand name Plaquenil and dates back more than half a century.
It was developed as a less toxic version of a successful anti-malaria drug.
In 1956, it was approved for treating symptoms of the autoimmune diseases lupus and rheumatoid arthritis.
About 1.5 million Americans are thought to have lupus, a rare disorder which causes a wide array of symptoms - including everything from pain and fatigue to fever, rah, kidney and memory problems and blood clotting.
Rheumatoid arthritis is similarly rare, striking about 41 out of every 100,000 people each year, causing them inflammation that drives