The Global Healthy Living Foundation, the parent non-profit of CreakyJoints, has joined with the American College of Rheumatology (ACR) as well as hundreds of rheumatologists and other advocacy organizations across the country, to sign onto letters directed at governors asking them to ensure that the supply chain for necessary rheumatology medications is not disrupted.
As GHLF has noted, hydroxycholoroquine (Plaquenil) and chloroquine are being used to treat some hospitalized COVID-19 patients. While GHLF is hopeful that these drugs will be proven effective against COVID-19, we also need to ensure that patients who depend on these medications on a daily basis to manage their rheumatologic diseases have access to them during the coronavirus pandemic. The letter to the governors urges them to:
- Ensure there is an adequate supply of needed medications for rheumatology patients;
- Work with state pharmacy boards to ensure that prescriptions are filled by an appropriate specialist;
- Relax importation requirements on hydroxycholoroquine (Plaquenil) to increase its availability;
- Encourage decisions on hydroxycholoroquine (Plaquenil) to be made locally, based on local conditions, and not on an ad hoc basis;
- Communicate accurate information about medications to the public;
- Prevent unrestricted access to hydroxycholoroquine (Plaquenil) in the absence of clinical data supporting its use.
According to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), people with underlying conditions — in particular those who are immunocompromised and require hydroxychloroquine to avoid serious disease complications, such as those with lupus and rheumatoid arthritis — might be at higher risk for severe illness from COVID-19. Such individuals have a diminished ability to fight off infection. As such, governors need to institute policies that do everything possible to keep these patients’ underlying health conditions under control. Maintaining good control over a chronic illness, through access to necessary medication such as hydroxychloroquine, could help reduce patients’ need for emergency health care that could increase their exposure to COVID-19.
The risk for developing serious complications from COVID-19 could be significantly reduced if the underlying high-risk condition is well managed. Having uninterrupted access to hydroxychloroquine and chloroquine is critical for patients who take these medications for their rheumatologic conditions.
We need patient voices demanding continued access to treatment for high-risk Americans during this public health emergency.
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About the 50-State Network
The 50-State Network is the grassroots advocacy arm of CreakyJoints and the Global Healthy Living Foundation.
It is comprised of patients with chronic illness who are trained as health care activists to proactively connect with local, state, and federal health policy stakeholders to share their perspective and influence change. Through public and personalized opportunities to advocate for the chronic disease community, the 50-State Network mobilizes patients to voice their concerns about access to treatment, quality of care, and the need to prioritize the physician-patient relationship. Learn more at 50StateNetwork.org.