AG Landry, Sen. Mills announce donation of 400,000 hydroxychloroquine sulfate tablets
BATON ROUGE - Louisiana Attorney General Jeff Landry, working with the assistance of State Senate Health and Welfare Chairman Fred Mills, is announcing a major donation by Amneal Pharmaceuticals to help respond to the COVID-19 health emergency. Amneal is donating 400,000 hydroxychloroquine sulfate tablets to the State of Louisiana.
"On behalf of Louisiana, I want to thank Amneal for this generous donation," Landry said. "It is important we all work together to help solve the COVID-19 Coronavirus crisis. We must come together as Louisianans and as Americans. This donation from Amneal demonstrates their strong effort to be a good corporate citizen in our Nation.
"I wish to remind everyone of the importance of social distancing guidelines issued by the President and state officials. Amneal's donation is one step toward trying to find treatments and cures for this epidemic. Right now, there are no silver bullets. We must remain vigilant against the spread of this virus."
Senator Fred Mills added, "I commend Amneal for working with Attorney General Jeff Landry and me in bringing forward this remarkable donation to benefit citizens of Louisiana."
"All of us at Amneal are committed to supporting our communities in the global fight against COVID-19," said Chirag and Chintu Patel, Co-Chief Executive Officers of Amneal. "We are working with urgency to assist the hardest hit states and hospitals around the country to benefit as many patients as possible during this critical time."
The Louisiana State University School of Medicine is working to launch two different clinical trials using hydroxychloroquine in relation to COVID-19. One trial will utilize hydroxychloroquine on those who have significant COVID-19 disease. The other trial protocol will use and test the drug as a preventative measure for those healthcare workers on the front lines battling the epidemic. Trials will be conducted at the University Medical Center in New Orleans and at the LSU Medical School locations in Baton Rouge and Lafayette.
"I sincerely appreciate the efforts of Attorney General Jeff Landry and Senator Fred Mills working with Amneal to bring this donation to the citizens of Louisiana," said Dr. Steve Nelson, Dean of LSUHSC School of Medicine. "This donation will allow us to conduct clinical trials examining how hydroxychloroquine may help clear the virus from the lungs of infected patients and to potentially help shield healthcare workers who are on the front lines treating patients."
The United States Government's National Institutes of Health is tracking other similar clinical trials of hydroxychloroquine for COVID-19. The University of Minnesota is undertaking a trial and Columbia University is as well.
The hydroxychloroquine donation by Amneal comes at an important time. The Louisiana Board of Pharmacy has noted serious concerns over the availability of this drug and has issued specific guidance on the dispensing of the drug, including its March 25th guidance noting that it should be dispensed for COVID-19 when the prescription bears a COVID-19 diagnosis.
The overall coordination of distribution will be done by the Louisiana Department of Health (LDH). Attorney General Jeff Landry has been assured by LDH that the entire State of Louisiana will benefit as doctors throughout the State can request the medication to treat patients.
Amneal has donated millions of hydroxychloroquine sulfate tablets in total to states other than Louisiana, including New York and Texas, and stated they will provide more as needed. The company also announced donations of products directly to hospitals across the country.
Hydroxychloroquine sulfate was first synthesized in 1946 and is in a class of medications historically used to treat and prevent malaria. Today, Amneal's hydroxychloroquine sulfate tablets are approved by the United States Food and Drug Administration (FDA) to treat malaria, rheumatoid arthritis, lupus, childhood arthritis, and other autoimmune diseases. Hydroxychloroquine is not FDA-approved for the treatment of COVID-19; but it has been identified as a possible treatment for COVID-19, and the U.S. Government has requested its immediate availability.
Amneal Pharmaceuticals, Inc. - headquartered in Bridgewater, NJ - is a fully-integrated pharmaceutical company focused on the development, manufacturing, and distribution of generic and specialty drug products.