Mastriano introduces bill to increase access to COVID-19 Early Treatment Drugs

HARRISBURG – Senator Doug Mastriano (PA-33) officially introduced legislation to ensure patients can easily access early treatment drugs following prescription from a licensed provider.

Despite a record of success in other parts of the world, it is increasingly difficult for a patient in Pennsylvania to obtain early treatment off-label drugs such as Fluvoxamine, Hydroxychloroquine, and Ivermectin following prescription from a provider. Senator Mastriano’s office heard from many constituents who have been encountering pharmacies that refuse to dispense these drugs even with a valid prescription note from a doctor.

SB 1091 will allow physicians and pharmacists to prescribe and dispense drugs already approved by the FDA for off-label use in the treatment or prevention of COVID, without penalty from licensing boards. The bill will also clarify that a pharmacy may not decline to fill a prescription of a COVID early treatment drug based solely on their opinion of the drug.

The legislation closely mirrors HB 1741 which was introduced by Rep. Dawn Keefer in the House of Representatives.

“Studies from across the globe have increasingly shown that the use of off-label FDA approved medications in the early or preventative stages of COVID infection significantly lowers the chance of hospitalization and death,” said Senator Mastriano. “A peer reviewed study by the International Journal of Antimicrobial Agents found that an early treatment drug combination (hydroxychloroquine and azithromycin) decreased hospitalizations by 84% and resulted in a five-fold reduction in death. Another peer reviewed study conducted by physicians in Brazil found that those who took Ivermectin (compared to those who did not) had a 56% reduction in hospitalization and a 68% reduction in death. Sadly, politics, bureaucracy, and profit margin motivations are pressuring doctors and pharmacists to reject the use of proven off-label drugs. It’s time for the legislature to step in and ensure that all COVID early treatment options are on the table.”

SB 1091 has been referred to the Senate Health and Human Services Committee for consideration.

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