Asked to provide a legal opinion on hospitals in the state banning doctors from prescribing certain treatments for COVID-19, South Carolina Attorney General Alan Wilson concluded doctors have the authority to prescribe drugs for the disease “off-label,” such as ivermectin and hydroxychloroquine.
“Our doctors, as well as their patients, need to know that doctors have the right to make important medical decisions, as long as they have the informed consent of their patients,” Wilson said in a statement announcing the opinion, as FITSNews reported.
“In fighting COVID, the doctor should be given the broadest possible leeway,” he said.
The opinion came in response to a request from South Carolina Republican state Sens. Shane Martin and Bill Taylor.
The lawmakers said “hospitals across our state are refusing to allow doctors to prescribe, or their hospital pharmacies to dispense, ivermectin, hydroxychloroquine, or other ‘off-label use medication’ for the treatment or prevention of COVID-19.”
They wanted the AG to weigh in on Wilson whether there was “any prohibition” to doctors prescribing for COVID-19 drugs meant for another purpose that were found to be effective against the disease caused by the SARS-CoV-2 virus.
Dr. Peter McCullough, a prominent cardiologist and epidemiologist, praised Wilson’s support for doctors.
McCullough noted on Twitter that he testified to the South Carolina Senate Committee on Medical Affairs, giving “the evidence base for these medications in the early treatment of the illness.”
He said the move will stop pharmacists blocking doctor’s prescriptions for the off-label drugs.
Wilson, in his opinion, argued the “physician-patient relationship is given constitutional dimension by the courts and broad – if not absolute – deference in a doctor’s prescribing medications to his or her patient, whether such prescriptions relate to off-label use or not.”
He pointed out that “courts have expressed time and again a reluctance to interfere in the doctor-patient relationship or in the policies of a hospital.”
“The physician who prescribes a drug for ‘off-label’ use is acting in accordance with generally accepted medical practice, as we understand it, and courts have so held,” Wilson said.
The state lawmaker Martin praised Wilson as “the only statewide elected official to protect the rights of doctors and patients.”
He told FITSNews the “the hospitals which have ignored the law and harmed patients to stop – right now.”
Taylor said the AG’s opinion “bolsters the stance of brave doctors who have secretly treated patients with ivermectin, hydroxychloroquine, steroids, heavy vitamin doses, and other methods to combat COVID.”
“These doctors have been threatened by their accreditation agencies and hospitals for using successful treatments that have saved lives,” the state senator said. “Most hospitals have adhered to the ever-fluid CDC protocols, which limit treatment. Families know that having a loved one placed on a ventilator is an almost certain death sentence.”