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Letters: Get the facts right on coronavirus drug treatments

The Detroit News

Elementary opinion misrepresents issue

Re: Kathy Hoekstra's March 26 guest Detroit News opinion, “Michigan’s doctors fight coronavirus, and governor's office”: This piece reflects a very elementary understanding of the issues related to the prescribing of hydroxychloroquine and azithromycin and a mis-representation of the intent and content of the letter written to prescribers by Michigan's Department of Licensing and Regulatory Affairs.

I am a family physician in Metro Detroit. My views do not necessarily reflect those of the health system to which I am employed. I do appreciate that this article was labeled as “opinion.” Given the nature of its content, however, it should be more thoroughly vetted by staff with appropriate medical and public health experience. It would have better served physicians, pharmacists and patients to have passed on this article.

Andrew Oleszkowicz, MD, Rochester Hills

An undated electron microscope image shows the Novel Coronavirus SARS-CoV-2, yellow, emerging from the surface of cells, blue/pink, cultured in the lab. Also known as 2019-nCoV, the virus causes COVID-19. The sample was isolated from a patient in the U.S.

Sparking fear is dangerous 

This article serves only to spark fear, anger and distrust and is full of false information. 

I am a family nurse practitioner in an outpatient setting and am in no way shape or form being prevented from prescribing needed treatments to my patients. 

The concern is that outpatient doctors and providers are trying to stockpile this medication for personal or family use, which is horrific. Hydroxychloroquine is currently most used for those with autoimmune diseases such as lupus, and the attempt to hoard these medications threatens the life of those patients. The evidence we have for hydroxychloroquine and coronavirus is limited at best, and it's in patients who are hospitalized and critically ill — not the patients we are seeing in the outpatient setting.

The patients who need this drug are those with coronavirus who are hospitalized and critically ill, and they are the patients who are receiving this, as almost all the hospital systems in the U.S. are doing their own “trials” to further assess for potential benefit.

I am an outpatient family nurse practitioner and at this point there is zero evidence that we should be prescribing this medication to our non-critically ill patients, and the idea that people are trying to hoard it is appalling. There should be a threat of disciplinary action in these cases! 

Sara West, Livonia 

Misleading point of view 

Kathy Hoekstra’s opinion on the LARA direction on the prescriptive use of Plaquinal and azithromycin is incorrect. She states that Michigan prescribers are being directed by the state to not treat people with these medications and that they are not allowed to write prescriptions for them.

The actual letter from the Michigan LARA advises prescribers to not write these prescriptions for themselves and healthy family members, which creates a hoarding situation and keeps these medications out of the hands of sick people.

The opinion incites fear and anger at a time we need factual information here in Michigan.

Andrea Donmyer, Sault Ste. Marie