By the editorial board
If there’s one bill that deserves this legislative session Governor Mike Parson’s staunch veto, it’s House Act 2149. The bill, passed by both the state house and Senate, is effectively a gag order that prevents Missouri pharmacists from doing their jobs. do when patients come to them looking for quack coronavirus remedies.
Normally, pharmacists are professionally and legally required to take a series of follow-up steps when they suspect that a prescription is harmful or medically inappropriate. But the purveyors of House Bill 2149 really don’t care what pharmacists think when it comes to pandemic politics.
The main concern of the GOP lawmakers who passed this measure is finding the right recipe for their own reelection. They have determined that it is not the best choice to protect the health of their constituents, but to make them follow the myth that the drugs ivermectin and hydroxycholoroquine are effective against the coronavirus.
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Those drugs gained popularity among President Donald Trump’s grassroots after he touted hydroxycholoquine as a rumored cure during one of his nationally-aired press conferences in the early days of the pandemic. It was also around that time that Trump also asked the two real-life doctors in the room whether injecting disinfectant could also fight the coronavirus. The great irony is that, by touting false cures, Trump has helped undermine public acceptance of the truly effective coronavirus vaccines his crash development program produced in record time.
Missouri pharmacists could soon be required by law to fill prescriptions for ivermectin and hydroxychloroquine — the former a drug for parasites and the latter a treatment for rheumatoid arthritis — even if pharmacists know the patients are not suffering from ailments for which those drugs are prescribed. approved to treat. According to HB 2149, the person prescribing the drugs cannot be held professionally responsible for directing “human use in accordance with the prescriber’s instructions” — whatever those directions may be.
The bill also prohibits pharmacists from contacting “the prescribing physician or patient to dispute the efficacy of the two drugs” unless the physician or patient seeks advice from the pharmacist.
As Webster Groves pharmacist John J. Ponzillo writes on Sunday’s opinion page, the misuse of certain drugs can lead to serious, harmful side effects. That’s why drugs — including coronavirus treatments — must undergo rigorous testing before being federally approved. He and other professionals say there is no evidence to support the use of these drugs for anything other than those approved by the Food and Drug Administration.
Anything less than that would conflict with the physician’s primary dictum to do no harm. This bill would force medical professionals to elevate quack science to a level of acceptance it doesn’t deserve, or to ignore the law in order to preserve their professional integrity. The governor should save them the hassle of choosing by vetoing this bill and throwing it in the trash where it belongs.