State Representative Dana Criswell (R-Olive Branch) is asking Mississippians to sign a petition calling for Governor Tate Reeves to allow the controversial drug hydroxychloroquine as a treatment for COVID-19.

“It is time the people of Mississippi take control of their health and well-being during this pandemic,” Criswell wrote in a newsletter email. “Doctors have been prohibited from prescribing a well documented and safe treatment to combat the COVID-19 virus and pharmacists have been instructed to deny any prescription of Hydroxychloroquine.”

Dana Criswell

Rep. Dana Criswell, R-Olive Branch.

The Food and Drug Administration revoked the emergency use authorization to use hydroxychloroquine to treat COVID-19 in certain hospitalized patients on June 15. This decision was made after a large, randomized clinical trial found that the drug “showed no benefit for decreasing the likelihood of death or speeding recovery.”

Hydroxychloroqione has been praised by President Donald Trump as an effective treatment for COVID-19, and has claimed he had taken the drug himself under the supervision of a doctor. However, The Food and Drug Administration has warned against its use as a coronavirus treatment and said that it is “unlikely to kill or inhibit the virus that causes COVID-19.”

The FDA has cautioned against the use of the drug to treat COVID-19, outside of a hospital setting or in a clinical trial. This is due to reports of the drug causing a multitude of problems in COVID-19 patients, including serious heart rhythm problems, blood and lymphatic system disorders, kidney injuries and liver failure.

Criswell is asking Gov. Reeves and state medical authorities to guarantee doctors can prescribe hydroxychloroquine treatment for COVID-19 patients.

Criswell’s letter to the governor says conservative Republicans have long championed medical autonomy between doctors and patients.

“We hold the belief that government officials and bureaucrats should get out of the way and allow patients the ‘right to try’ even experimental treatments,” Criswell wrote. 

Criswell had not responded to requests for comment at the time of publication.

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