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Lawmaker Suggests State's Hydroxychloroquine Ban Politically Motivated, Makes FOIA Demand

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Virginia House Delegate David LaRock is calling on the commonwealth’s health commissioner to lift restrictions on the use of antimalarial drug hydroxychloroquine to treat COVID-19 patients and suggesting they may be political in nature.

The Republican, in a letter to State Health Commissioner M. Norman Oliver last week, also made a Freedom of Information Act request for all documents held by the Department of Health and Democratic Gov. Ralph Northam pertaining to hydroxychloroquine.

In March, Oliver issued guidance regarding the treatment of coronavirus cases, which read in part, “Prescriptions for chloroquine, hydroxychloroquine, mefloquine and azithromycin should be restricted in the outpatient setting and should require a diagnosis ‘consistent with the evidence for its use.'”

Several doctors have gone on record stating that they have experienced success treating COVID-19 patients with a combination of hydroxychloroquine, the antibiotic azithromycin and zinc.

Some observational studies have supported the efficacy of the treatment regimen, but most randomized trials have not.

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LaRock argued that given the widespread use of the drug, particularly outside the U.S., doctors and patients should be allowed to use it in Virginia without interference from the government.

“In this case, we have an inexpensive treatment, an early treatment that in other countries that is proving to be helpful by virtue of its affordability is one of the most available treatments,” the delegate told The Western Journal.

In his letter to Oliver, LaRock pointed to India and Costa Rica as examples of other countries that have found success using the drug.

Costa Rica’s 3.24 deaths per 100,000 COVID-19 patients and India’s 2.82 are much lower than Virginia’s 26 deaths per 100,000.

LaRock is concerned that the Northam administration’s resistance to hydroxychloroquine may be political, hence his decision to file a FOIA request.

“Our governor, governors of a few other states have been very aggressive with their shutdowns: California, New York, Michigan to name a few,” LaRock said.

“There’s a possibility that they have communicated and if they are partly or completely motivated politically then we’re hoping that would come forward from a FOIA,” he added.

LaRock noted that Northam has been in a vulnerable place politically since controversial pictures of the governor surfaced in February 2019 from his medical school days, showing him either in blackface or potentially a Ku Klux Klan custom.

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The legislator contended that the governor has been in a rebuilding phase since then and one way to curry favor with Democrats is to help deliver Virginia in November, through both the aggressive shutdown to hurt the state economically and denial of life-saving treatment.

“If he were to be influential in delivering Virginia, the Democrats in some way, that might be one of the few opportunities he’d have,” LaRock said.

Do you believe Northam's hard-line stance on hydroxychloroquine is politically motivated?

He noted Northam has already taken an extreme position regarding late-term abortions, saying mothers and their doctors should be able to decide whether babies who survive the procedure should be able to live.

“Taking an action that shows an apparent disregard for human life” is something the governor has shown a willingness to do, LaRock said.

“He is a medical doctor, so he understands that. So to make that decision you have to be pretty cold.”

LaRock concluded his letter to Oliver writing, “I have encountered a number of Virginians who have concluded with a sense of outrage that [hydroxychloroquine] is being restricted in Virginia not for medical reasons, but for political reasons.”

“Every day this directive is left standing, the likelihood increases that more Virginians will die unnecessarily from COVID-19 for lack of proper early treatment.”

The Western Journal reached out to the offices of Gov. Northam and Commissioner Oliver for comment but did not immediately receive responses.

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Randy DeSoto has written more than 1,000 articles for The Western Journal since he joined the company in 2015. He is a graduate of West Point and Regent University School of Law. He is the author of the book "We Hold These Truths" and screenwriter of the political documentary "I Want Your Money."
Randy DeSoto is the senior staff writer for The Western Journal. He wrote and was the assistant producer of the documentary film "I Want Your Money" about the perils of Big Government, comparing the presidencies of Ronald Reagan and Barack Obama. Randy is the author of the book "We Hold These Truths," which addresses how leaders have appealed to beliefs found in the Declaration of Independence at defining moments in our nation's history. He has been published in several political sites and newspapers.

Randy graduated from the United States Military Academy at West Point with a BS in political science and Regent University School of Law with a juris doctorate.
Birthplace
Harrisburg, Pennsylvania
Nationality
American
Honors/Awards
Graduated dean's list from West Point
Education
United States Military Academy at West Point, Regent University School of Law
Books Written
We Hold These Truths
Professional Memberships
Virginia and Pennsylvania state bars
Location
Phoenix, Arizona
Languages Spoken
English
Topics of Expertise
Politics, Entertainment, Faith




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