April 12, 2020
Today, the Lupus Research Alliance (LRA) Scientific Advisory Board Chair Dr. Gary Koretzky emailed top federal health officials a strong letter calling attention to concerns about availability of hydroxychloroquine for patients with systemic lupus erythematosus. The letter was addressed to: Alex M. Azar II, JD, Secretary, Health and Human Services; Stephen M. Hahn, MD, Commissioner of Food and Drugs, Food and Drug Administration; and Anthony S. Fauci, MD, Director, National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Disease.
The letter was signed by numerous colleagues, all of whom are international leaders in Immunology, Rheumatology and Bioethics representing academia, industry and the American College of Rheumatology.
The letter emphasized the need to ensure that hydroxychloroquine continues to be available to those people who already rely on it.
“While we hope that hydroxychloroquine will eventually prove to be effective against COVID-19, we also want to ensure that SLE patients who rely on this medication will continue to have uninterrupted access to it during the pandemic. We are weighing known against unproven benefit. We respectfully request that as we move through this period of uncertainty regarding the utility of hydroxychloroquine in COVID-19, effective measures should be implemented to ensure access to hydroxychloroquine for SLE patents. If the drug proves to be efficacious in both conditions, every effort should be made to ensure that hydroxychloroquine is available to everyone whose health requires it. Perhaps, now is the time to begin planning for that possibility.”