Whitmer reverses course on coronavirus drugs, is now asking feds for hydroxychloroquine and chloroquine

MetroTimes reports Gov. Gretchen Whitmer drew fire from some on the right after the Michigan Department of Licensing and Regulatory Affairs (LARA) sent a letter last week threatening “administrative action” against doctors who prescribed two experimental drugs that could potentially help coronavirus patients.

The Whitmer administration has since removed the language threatening doctors from the letter and is now asking the federal government to send shipments of the drugs, Bridge magazine reports. The Food and Drug Administration issued an emergency authorization for the antimalarial drugs hydroxychloroquine sulfate and chloroquine phosphate on Saturday.

Conservatives including Charlie Kirk and Rudy Guiliani accused Whitmer of risking lives to oppose President Donald Trump. In recent weeks, Whitmer and Trump have been sparring on national television over federal aid for Michigan, while Trump has touted the drugs’ potential in treating COVID-19.

But apparently, Michigan’s “ban” on the drugs to treat coronavirus patients was all just a matter of miscommunication.

Days after LARA issued its first letter, The Detroit News published an op-ed that criticized the Whitmer administration’s prohibition of the drugs.

“Not only is our state’s top leader threatening the selfless health care workers who are on the frontline trying to save lives, but she’s denying possible life-saving medications to actual COVID-19 victims,” the op-ed said.

Some readers criticized the paper for irresponsibly advocating for untested drugs.

But Detroit News editor and publisher Gary Miles defended the column on Monday, pointing out that it revealed a miscommunication between the State Senate and the Governor.

Senate Majority Leader Mike Shirkey, a Clarklake Republican, told The Detroit News that he asked the governor to issue the original letter to prevent people from hoarding the drugs and thus depriving non-coronavirus patients of their medicine.

“We needed something to prevent cloroquine from becoming the next toilet paper,” he told Miles. “I quickly requested of her staff that they put something out, and somehow in the translation it was prohibiting use of these drugs — and that wasn’t the intent.”

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