West Virginia Board of Pharmacy Issues Emergency Rule Limiting Prescriptions for Chloroquine and Hydroxychloroquine
On March 21, 2020, the West Virginia Board of Pharmacy proposed an emergency rule pursuant to its general rulemaking authority seeking to ensure that chloroquine and hydroxychloroquine – two drugs thought to be potentially helpful in the treatment of COVID-19 – are only dispensed to individuals currently in need of these drugs. The emergency rule, Section 15-1-26.1, provides:
26.1.b. The prescription is limited to no more than thirty (30) tablets, unless the patient was previously established on the medication prior to the effective date of this rule; and
26.1.c. No refills may be permitted unless a new prescription is furnished. This requirement does not apply to the patient previously established on the medication prior to the effective date of this rule.
Both nationally and in West Virginia, some prescribers have begun writing prescriptions for these drugs for family, friends, and coworkers in anticipation of the further spread of COVID-19. This rule limits the ability for persons to obtain prescriptions for these medications by requiring that all new prescriptions for these medications contain a written diagnosis from the prescribing health care provider that is consistent with the medication’s use, limiting the supply to 30 days, and prohibiting refills on prescriptions for these medications.
Today, March 23, 2020, the West Virginia Board of Medicine indicated in its notification "Emergency Rule Regarding Chloroquine and Hydroxychloriquine" that licensees should conform their prescribing practices to align with this emergency rule.