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New Jersey Changes Rules for COVID-19 Prescribing

As New Jersey has become a hotspot in the COVID-19 outbreak, physicians and the public-at-large are looking for any remedies that may help alleviate symptoms or assist recovery.  One hot topic has been the use of hydroxychloroquine.  Originally an anti-malarial drug, this medication is also used in the treatment of autoimmune disorders, such as lupus and rheumatoid arthritis.  On March 29, 2020, the FDA gave emergency approval of this medication to treat patients with COVID-19.

However, following reports of hoarding, New Jersey Attorney General Gurbir Grewal, acting through the Division of Consumer Affairs, issued Order 2020-01, restricting licensees from mass prescribing of the medication.  Specifically, the Order requires that all “prescriptions for any drug in short supply . . . due to their use in possible treatment of COVID-19, must contain a diagnosis code or diagnostic.”  The failure to include such a code will render the prescription invalid.  Further, medications in short supply may not be prescribed as a “prophylaxis against COVID-19,” nor are they to be prescribed to the prescriber’s “family and friends,” nor stockpiled for office use.

Notably, New Jersey now requires that all “prescriptions written for hydroxychloroquine and chloroquine for the possible treatment of COVID-19, shall be supported by a positive test result.”  Such results “must be documented on the prescription and in the medical record, and [prescriptions] shall be limited to a 14-day supply, with no refills permitted.”  These restrictions do not apply to previous pre-existing conditions, such as lupus or other autoimmune disorders.

How Frier Levitt Can Help

As the medical world changes by the hour, it is incumbent upon physicians to remain in good standing with the State so that they can continue their fight on the front lines against COVID-19.  Frier Levitt has extensive experience in defending physicians against licensing actions.  Contact Frier Levitt if you have been contacted by the New Jersey State Board of Medical Examiners concerning any inquiry, investigation or complaint against you or your practice.