Washington, D.C. – U.S. Sens. Ron Wyden (D-OR), Bob Casey (D-PA), and Elizabeth Warren (D-MA) are requesting information from federal health agencies regarding the use of hydroxychloroquine to treat COVID-19 patients in nursing homes.
Following official state reports showing the inappropriate use of hydroxychloroquine in nursing homes, the senators sent letters to Food and Drug Administration (FDA) Commissioner Stephen Hahn and Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) Administrator Seema Verma, requesting information regarding how the agencies have monitored the use of hydroxychloroquine in those settings. The senators also sent a letter to the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) Office of Inspector General, requesting it open an investigation into the extent to which the experimental treatment has been used on nursing home residents without proper approval and without their consent.
“Recent state inspection reports of nursing homes in Pennsylvania and Texas reveal that residents were treated with hydroxychloroquine without authorization and without the consent of the residents or their family members or guardians,” the senators wrote.
In Pennsylvania, one nursing home treated 205 of its 435 residents using hydroxychloroquine without proper approval from state officials. According to a state inspection report issued on June 18, not only was this treatment undertaken without consultation with the state, it was still taking place five days after the FDA issued warnings against its use in non-hospital settings. In Texas, state inspection reports reveal that a nursing home was cited for treating cognitively impaired patients for COVID-19 without getting consent from their family or guardians first. That same facility was using hydroxychloroquine to treat patients with COVID-19.
“Despite the new scientific evidence and updated guidance from FDA, President Trump has continued to support and even advocated for the use of this treatment for COVID-19 patients. This mixed messaging from the Administration coupled with an absence of clear guidance, has led to the drug’s continued use, even after the FDA issued warnings about its safety. In fact, over the past six months there have been numerous reports of nursing homes using hydroxychloroquine to treat residents with COVID-19. In one particularly troubling instance, a nursing home reportedly used hydroxychloroquine as an ingredient in their ‘Covid Cocktail’ and administered it to residents as a preventative measure. According to family and residents, consent was not given for the use of this treatment, violating standards of medical ethics,” the senators also wrote.
The letter to the FDA is here.
The letter to CMS is here.
The letter to HHS is here.
A web version of this release is here.