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VERIFY: The AMA did not change its stance on hydroxychloroquine and COVID-19

While a change in its position toward hydroxychloroquine was considered, the American Medical Association rejected the proposal.

Certain media outlets and social media circles have erupted with claims that the American Medical Association has reversed its stance against prescribing hydroxychloroquine, an anti-malaria drug that President Donald Trump had touted, as a COVID-19 treatment. But a closer look at the documents reveals that’s not correct.


Did the American Medical Association quietly rescind its opposition to prescribing hydroxychloroquine to COVID-19 patients?


No, says the American Medical Association. The AMA reiterated in a tweet Wednesday that its “position remains unchanged.” 


The claim arose from a proposal, Resolution 509, to rescind the AMA’s position statement on hydroxychloroquine. It was presented for consideration to the AMA House of Delegates, the organization’s policy-making body, in a special meeting in November. However, the 690 physicians and medical students who make up the House of Delegates rejected the proposal.

Instead, the House of Delegates reaffirmed current AMA policy supporting the decision-making authority of a physician on off-label uses of pharmaceuticals. The AMA, the American Pharmacists Association and American Society of Health-System Pharmacists issued a joint statement in April on this topic that said, “Novel off-label use of FDA-approved medications is a matter for the physician’s or other prescriber’s professional judgment.”

“At the same time, we caution hospitals, health systems, other entities, and individual practitioners that no medication has been FDA-approved for use in COVID-19 patients,” the AMA added in its joint statement.

The proposal argued that the AMA’s position calling on doctors to stop prescribing hydroxychloroquine contradicts the policy that the AMA later reaffirmed. The AMA, however, rejected that argument. 

In other words, the claims were based on a proposal that was not adopted.

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