AMA, APhA, ASHP Issue Joint Statement on Use of Medications to Treat COVID-19

March 26, 2020
Gabrielle Ientile, Assistant Editor

In a joint statement, the American Medical Association (AMA), American Pharmacists Association (APhA), and American Society of Health-System Pharmacists (ASHP) have communicated concerns regarding the inappropriate ordering, prescribing, or dispensing of treatments for COVID-19.

In a joint statement, the American Medical Association (AMA), American Pharmacists Association (APhA), and American Society of Health-System Pharmacists (ASHP) have communicated concerns regarding the inappropriate ordering, prescribing, or dispensing of treatments for COVID-19.

The AMA, APhA, and ASHP collectively applaud the selflessness of health care professionals during the COVID-19 crisis, and alternatively caution against providers “prophylactically prescribing medications currently identified as potential treatments for COVID-19 for themselves, their families, or their colleagues,” noting that “some pharmacies and hospitals have been purchasing excessive amounts of these medications in anticipation of potentially using them for COVID-19 prevention and treatment.”

Stockpiling medications that are currently being considered as potential treatment for COVID-19 will deplete the resources for patients with conditions for which these drugs are approved to treat. This is the case with hydroxychloroquine, which is used for conditions such as lupus and rheumatoid arthritis.

AMA, APhA, and ASHP additionally reaffirm that there is no medication that has been approved by the FDA for treatment of COVID-19, and that “there is no incontrovertible evidence to support off-label use of medications for COVID-19.”

The associations also expressed concern regarding the confusion that may result from emergency rules by state government agencies and boards that restrict access to medications with COVID-19 treatment potential, including hydroxychloroquine, or instilling requirements for new procedures for physicians or other health care professionals or patients. The statement similarly urges that “patients already on these medications should not be impacted by new laws, rules, or other guidance.”

“In a time of national pandemic, now is not the time for states to issue conflicting guidance, however well-intentioned, that could lead to unintended consequences,” they explained in the statement.

“The nation’s physicians and pharmacists continue to demonstrate remarkable leadership on a daily basis. We are confident in physicians’ and pharmacists’ judgment to make the right decisions for their patients, communities and the health care system overall.”

References:

Joint Statement of the American Medical Association, American Pharmacists Association, and American Society of Health-System Pharmacists on Inappropriate Ordering, Prescribing or Dispensing of Medications to Treat COVID-19 [news release]. ASHP website. https://www.ashp.org/-/media/assets/pharmacy-practice/resource-centers/Coronavirus/docs/AMA-APhA-ASHP-statement-ensuring-access-to-medicines-covid19.ashx?la=en&hash=F844D66155C2505C8DFC39DFA7F7CA04786E483C. Accessed March 26, 2020.