Barry County pharmacists donate medicine to possibly treat coronavirus

Published: Mar. 25, 2020 at 4:21 PM CDT
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Two pharmacists in Barry County are hoping to make a difference for coronavirus patients.

Pharmacists Ryan Harness and Cong Dang donated about 1,000 tablets of Hydroxychloroquine, medicine that's sometimes used to treat rheumatoid arthritis or malaria, to Cox Health.

"As health care providers, we are just trying to help as many people as we can," Harness said.

Harness says Hydroxychloroquine has showed some promise with reducing recovery time with COVID 19 patients in a recent study.

A Cox Health infectious diseases doctor says the donation is appreciated, but it's too early to know for sure if the drug can actually treat the novel coronavirus.

"We will use all these strategies when we have desperate patients. We will use drugs that are not approved that are in the pipeline that are being studied, we will enroll patients in clinical studies," Dr. Robin Trotman said.

Dr. Trotman said in an interview earlier this week, while one study showed some positive results, more are needed to prove the drug is effective.

"This didn't look to see if these patients did better. It looked to see if there was less virus in their secretions," Dr. Trotman said.

The pharmacists say they just happened to have the drugs on hand and if they could help, they wanted to try.

"How wonderful if we could give it to the hospital or the clinic, if they wanted to test it on the patients, and if we could save a life, that would make it all well worth it, even if it hasn't been proven," Dang said.

While the pharmacists are hopeful, they wanted to give local doctors more access to the drug, should they decide to use it.

"It's just trial and error," Dang said. "We are neighbors helping neighbors. That's my main goal is to give back to the community."

The pharmacists also donated extra medical gloves and say if they're able to get supplies that hospitals need, they'll be glad to share in the future.

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