PolitiFact: Nevada Governor Restricted Anti-Malaria Drugs For Outpatient Coronavirus Treatment, But Not In Hospitals

OPINION | This article contains political commentary which reflects the author's opinion.

CORRECTION NOTICE: This article previously stated that the “Governor of Nevada Stephen Sisolak banned the anti-malarial drug chloroquine,” which was false. We regret this error and have issued a correction.

Democratic Governor of Nevada Stephen Sisolak signed an emergency regulation that restricted the prescription of chloroquine for COVID-19 patients in outpatient settings, but not in hospitals and emergency rooms. This information was confirmed by PolitiFact.

This decision reportedly came at the recommendation of state health officials, who said there is the potential for stockpiling the drug if there isn’t a restriction on the prescription of chloroquine for COVID-19 patients in outpatient settings.

Gov. Sisolak’s Communications Director Ryan McInerney told The Daily Caller News Foundation that the order includes an explicit exception allowing a “chart order for an inpatient in an institutional setting.”

McInerney continued, “In other words, doctors in hospitals and emergency rooms can still prescribe these drugs to treat a patient diagnosed with COVID-19 if they so choose.”

“The regulation focuses on outpatient services where there has been evidence of hoarding of these drugs, which can impact those who need the drugs for other conditions AND COVID-19 patients in hospital settings where a doctor could determine that administering those drugs might be helpful,” McInerney added.

“Federal regulators say the effectiveness of chloroquine in treating COVID-19 is anecdotal, and more research and clinical trials are needed,” PolitiFact added in their review of the issue.

Sisolak’s order came shortly after President Trump announced that the Federal Drug Administration is waiving “outdated rules and bureaucracies” to test various “anti-viral therapies.”

The Associated Press reported that Governor Sisolak reasoned that neither experts nor Nevada doctors have a consensus on whether the drugs can treat coronavirus patients.