We are taking steps to ensure we have adequate supply to meet current and expected needs.
Currently, there is a global shortage of the medications hydroxychloroquine (and the brand-name version, Plaquenil) and chloroquine. Over the past few weeks, these drugs were identified as having a potential beneficial impact in the treatment of some severely sick COVID-19 patients who are hospitalized, which in turn has caused demand to rise dramatically. Supplies from drug manufacturers have not yet caught up.
These medications are also commonly used to treat patients with lupus, rheumatoid arthritis, and malaria. Kaiser Permanente is taking steps to ensure we have adequate supply to meet the existing needs of patients who are taking these medications, and also ensure access for severely sick patients hospitalized with COVID-19 infections. Actions underway include:
If we don’t take steps to mitigate the shortage, we all will face the real possibility of running out of these drugs in the next few weeks.
Over the next several weeks, we expect the drug manufacturers to ramp up production to meet the increased demand across the United States and the world. As supply becomes available, our physicians will evaluate these dispensing protocols and adjust accordingly.