PITTSBURGH (KDKA) – It’s the hottest medication on the market right now, and pharmacies are struggling to keep it in stock. It’s called hydroxychloroquine, and it’s the anti-malaria drug heavily touted by President Trump to help with COVID-19 symptoms.
But it’s also a medicine taken daily by people dealing with autoimmune diseases.
KDKA’s Meghan Schiller talked to one woman who said her sister can no longer get the medicine she needs to treat her lupus.
Q: Why are local pharmacies running low on #hydroxychloroquine?
A: The owner of Spartan Pharmacy got this letter from his (very popular) supplier based in India. He says the country cut off exports of the medicine to the USA. @KDKA #COVID19 pic.twitter.com/frY3UffEtF
— MEGHAN SCHILLER (@MeghanKDKA) April 7, 2020
The owner of Spartan Pharmacy in Brentwood says he actually still has some of the drug. He says people are calling him at all hours trying to get this medicine.
He saved enough of it for his regular customers, and has just a little bit set aside for people who can’t get it at their usual pharmacy.
Hydroxychloroquine is a regular daily pill for people dealing with these autoimmune diseases like lupus or rheumatoid arthritis, but now that some people have touted it as a possible treatment to lessen the symptoms for COVID-19, the people who really need it are facing the terrifying possibility that they’ll run out.
Sara Zuboff’s sister can’t get her medication for lupus.
“It’s scary my sister relies on this medication as part of her treatment regiment for lupus, this is the only treatment that’s she using right now,” says Zuboff.
“She usually has transfusions that kind of supplement her drug regimen, but because of coronavirus, she had to cancel the most recent transfusion because it’s not safe for her to have it done.”
Adam Rice, the president and owner of Spartan Pharmacy says he’s rationing it to prevent anyone from hoarding or stockpiling it.