COVID-19 legislative changes to hydroxychloroquine (Plaquenil®)  prescriptions

Hydroxychloroquine approved indications include prevention and treatment of certain types of malaria, lupus and rheumatoid arthritis.

Hydroxychloroquine use requires significant safety precautions and monitoring due to the potential for severe side-effects and interactions with other medicines.
Effective 24 March, initial prescription of hydroxychloroquine is now restricted to specialists in any of the following specialties:

  • dermatology
  • intensive care medicine
  • paediatrics and child health
  • physician
  • emergency medicine
  • dental practitioner specialists in oral medicine.

GPs can prescribe for continuing supply of hydroxychloroquine for a patient after specialist initiation, or for continuing therapy of a registered condition commenced prior to 24 March 2020.

This temporary prescribing restriction has been put in place to manage an unprecedented demand for hydroxychloroquine since the release of data suggesting its potential for treating COVID-19 and confusing commentary in the media. Demand management measures are necessary so that patients with a genuine need for this medication can access critical ongoing therapy.
More information here