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COVID-19 Delta variant brings new attention to off-label use of medicine

Thursday, August 5, 2021

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE



COVID-19 Delta variant brings new attention

to off-label use of medicine


(Phoenix, State Capitol) --- With COVID-19 cases rising in the past month, a bill passed in the recent legislative session is getting new attention. SB 1416, sponsored by Senate Health & Human Services Committee Chair Nancy Barto protects the off-label use of medications during a public health emergency. Off-label prescribing is when a physician prescribes a drug that the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has approved to treat a different condition.


Roughly one in five prescriptions are written for an off-label use, whether it's a medication used for a condition that is not approved to treat, or a medication is dosed differently.


"We know how important early treatment and prevention is in healthcare,” said Senator Barto. “Expanding access to certain off-label medications during a pandemic can be life-saving in this fight, and physicians need every tool in the toolbox to appropriately treat patients without fear of losing their licenses.”


“What is not widely known yet is the decision by Governor Ducey to rescind Executive Order 2020-20 in early July,” said Barto. "That action lifted restrictions on the filling of hydroxychloroquine and chloroquine. These drugs are widely available and affordable. It makes sense for Arizonans to have access to off-label uses, after consulting with their health professional."


Arizona has been a leader in off-label use. In 2017, Arizona became the first state to allow pharmaceutical companies to communicate off-label treatment uses to health professionals and SB 1416 extends Arizona’s Free Speech and Practice Act protections to health professionals passed in 2016 (SB 1445).

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