Tucson man with lupus asks community to stop hoarding medication amid COVID-19 outbreak

Tucson man with lupus asks community to stop hoarding medication amid COVID-19 outbreak
Tucson man with lupus asks community to stop hoarding medication (Source: KOLD)

TUCSON, Ariz. (KOLD News 13) - In the days following President Trump's comments that two drugs known to prevent malaria are the focus of clinical trials to treat coronavirus, a man in Tucson living with an autoimmune disease is asking people to stop buying the medication if they don't need it.

Chris Roberts was stunned to hear the hydroxychloroquine he takes for lupus was out of stock at his neighborhood pharmacy.

"It's never out of stock," he said. "It's never happened. I've had many other meds that I need to take out of stock, but hydroxychloroquine, I was like 'oh no'."

Roberts was down to less than a week's supply. He and his wife called every pharmacy they could in the greater Tucson area. His in-laws live in Nogales and found one place with enough hydroxychloroquine to fill his prescription. Roberts said he's lucky, but he worries others in a similar situation might not be so fortunate.

"The drug is absolutely vital to, not just myself, but so many other lupus patients and other autoimmune patients that need it," he said.

The Lupus Foundation of America called on Congress to ensure manufacturers can meet demand, not only for the clinical trials, but individuals like Roberts.

Medical teams at Banner Health on Monday, March 23, 2020 warned against self-medicating to protect against coronavirus. A news release stated A man has died and his wife is under critical care after the couple, both in their 60s, ingested chloroquine phosphate, an additive commonly used at aquariums to clean fish tanks.

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