Pennacchio to Governor: Unshackle Doctors, Give Them the Tools to Treat and Save Patients
More than 500 New Jerseyans have died from COVID-19, almost 26,000 have tested positive for the virus, yet as the numbers skyrocket every day, the Murphy Administration continues to tie the hands of doctors desperate to control the spread with hydroxychloroquine, Senator Joe Pennacchio said today.
Sen. Pennacchio said the Murphy Administration should heed the call of doctors who want to pretreat people with HCQ to control the spread of COVID-19. (CDC)
“It’s difficult to understand the motivation here,” said Pennacchio (R-26). “For whatever reason, doctors are being shackled in how they can use HCQ, and patients are suffering for it.”
Hydroxychloroquine was an effective anti-malarial drug when it was introduced more than 70 years ago, and today it is used to treat patients with lupus, rheumatoid arthritis, and other maladies.
The medication broke back into the mainstream news recently, when President Donald Trump endorsed it as a possible treatment for coronavirus. Opponents of the president immediately ridiculed the suggestion.
In the weeks since, however, multiple studies have reported the effectiveness of HCQ in the war on COVID-19, and doctors across the globe have heralded its ability to control symptoms, help victims recover sooner, and to prevent people from being infected.
“More than 100 physicians have signed on with me who believe this treatment is essential to saving lives, and that’s just the tip of the iceberg,” Pennacchio noted. “Doctors everywhere are saying this is our best hope to beat the pandemic. A survey released yesterday presented more than 6,000 doctors with 15 options for treating the virus, and almost 40 percent of them rated HCQ as the ‘most effective therapy.’ That speaks volumes.”
Azithromycin, or Zithromax, was rated the second-most effective therapy at 32 percent, followed by “nothing,” according to a Washington Times report, “Hydroxychloroquine rated ‘most effective therapy’ by doctors for coronavirus: Global survey.”
“It’s time for Trenton to stop interfering with doctors and endorse this treatment as both a therapeutic and preventative. Let the professionals call the shots and save lives,” said Pennacchio.
In spite of optimism for the effectiveness of hydroxychloroquine around the globe, New Jersey continues to drag its feet and has not begun stockpiling the drugs, or developing a distribution protocol to treat residents, Pennacchio lamented.
Novartis, a pharmaceutical company with a strong presence in the state, has committed to donating more than 130 million doses of generic hydroxychloroquine to support the pandemic response.
Meanwhile, research and studies from around the world cite the potential of this off-label treatment protocol.
“When you take these small-scale international studies and combine them with the growing trend of evidence being reported by physicians throughout this country, hydroxychloroquine may be the ‘game changer’ in breaking this pandemic over the next several weeks,” said research scientist Dr. Philip DeFina. “Afterward, careful analyses of the data combined with new studies in progress will eventually corroborate that this was the critical step in returning our nation to normalcy.”
DeFina is working closely with a group of doctors and scientists advising Pennacchio on the use of HCQ for COVID-19.