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Coronavirus In Ohio: State Looking Into What To Do With Hydroxychloroquine Stockpile

prescription medicine pills spilling out of a bottle

The FDA has revoked permission for hydroxychloroquine to be used as a treatment for COVID-19, after the drug was publicly touted by President Donald Trump. That leaves the state of Ohio with a stockpile of millions of pills.

Ohio bought more than 2 million pills, spending $602,629 on the unproven drug, while another 2 million pills were donated to the state.

Gov. Mike DeWine says hospitals and health experts are weighing in on what to do with the stockpile.

"Hindsight's always perfect, if you knew what the FDA was going to do this week obviously we would have not have stockpiled that," DeWine said. "On the other hand, if it turned out that we couldn't get it, people would have looked back and said, 'Why didn't you stockpile it.'"

The FDA says the drug didn't show signs of decreasing the likelihood of death or speeding recovery of the virus, and noted serious side effects such as heart problems.

DeWine says this is part of the challenge when it comes to addressing a novel virus like COVID-19.

"You're going to make errors as you move forward," he says. "As you fight a pandemic, things are not going to be perfect. In hindsight, we wouldn’t have done it. But we went on the best available information that we had at the time. And we erred on the side of being cautious to protect Ohioans lives."

Hydroxychloroquine is a drug typically used to prevent or treat malaria and has a shelf life of up to 24 months.

Andy Chow is a general assignment state government reporter who focuses on environmental, energy, agriculture, and education-related issues. He started his journalism career as an associate producer with ABC 6/FOX 28 in Columbus before becoming a producer with WBNS 10TV.