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Senate of Pennsylvania
Session of 2021 - 2022 Regular Session


Posted: January 28, 2022 12:48 PM
From: Senator Doug Mastriano
To: All Senate members
Subject: Increasing Access to COVID Early Treatment Drugs
In the near future, I plan to introduce legislation to ensure patients can easily access early treatment drugs following prescription from a licensed provider. The bill will be similar to HB 1741 introduced by Representative Keefer.

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.

For example, a peer-reviewed study published in 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 between July 2020 and December 2020 examined over 150,000 participants in the city of Itajai and found that those who took Ivermectin (compared to those who did not) had a 56% reduction in hospitalization and a 68% reduction in death.

Despite a record of success, it is increasingly difficult for a patient in Pennsylvania to obtain these early treatment drugs following prescription from a provider. I`ve heard from many constituents who are encountering pharmacies that refuse to dispense these drugs even with a valid prescription note from a doctor.

A combination of politics, bureaucracy, and profit margin motivations is driving pressure on doctors and pharmacists to reject the use of proven off-label drugs. 

My legislation 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. My 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.

Please join me as a co-sponsor for this lifesaving legislation.

Introduced as SB1091