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Pharmaceutical company donates drug to Louisiana for COVID-19 patients

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Posted at 9:28 AM, Mar 30, 2020
and last updated 2020-03-30 10:48:10-04

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," said General Landry. "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."

The donation will go towards clinical trials and patient treatments in the state.

The attorney general's office says 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 and the other will use and test the drug as a preventative measure for healthcare workers on the front lines

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."

Other similar clinical trials of hydroxychloroquine for COVID-19 are taking place at the University of Minnesota and Columbia University.

Donations of hydroxycholorquine sulfate tablets have also been made to states like New York and Texas.

The attorney general's office says that the donation comes at an important time for Louisiana. The Board of Pharmacy recently noted concerns over the availability of the drug in the state and issued guidelines to doctors on its dispensation to patients.

Hydroxychloroquine sulfate was first synthesized in 1946 and is in a class of medications historically used to treat and prevent malaria. 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, according to a release.

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.