By : Roybn Chuter
Queensland's Chief Health Office has quietly revoked the previous CHO's threat to jail doctors who prescribe hydroxychloroquine for COVID-19. And the official reason doesn't make any sense.
On 12 March 2022, the Chief Health Office (CHO) of Queensland, Dr John Gerrard, revoked a directive issued on 7 April 2020 by previous CHO and now governor of Queensland, Dr Jeanette Young, which imposed criminal sanctions – a fine of up to $13 785 or 6 months in prison – on doctors and pharmacists who prescribed or dispensed hydroxychloroquine for prevention or treatment of COVID-19.
Here’s the original directive issued by Young, in the very early days of the manufactured COVID crisis:
And here is Gerrard’s revocation of that directive:
The revocation was published with little fanfare; a sharp-eyed subscriber to my Substack brought it to my attention on the morning of 6 April (thanks, Timothy!), and that evening, the Murdoch-owned Courier Mail ran an article on it.
Apparently, like Voldemort, hydroxychloroquine gains power from merely having its name spoken: The Courier Mail could not bring itself to use the word “hydroxychloroquine” in the headline or lede, euphemising it as “a certain drug” and then – misleadingly, since it is routinely prescribed for a host of conditions besides malaria – “an antimalarial drug”:
Jodie Munro O’Brien, the Courier Mail ‘journalist’ (I use the term loosely, for reasons that will become evident) tasked with reporting the story, simply reiterated the official government narrative that the ban on prescribing hydroxychloroquine for COVID-19 had been instituted because of fears that off-label use for this purpose would lead to “a supply shortage, leaving those already prescribed the drug for other, unrelated ailments without their medicine.”
If you’re wondering, “Why didn’t the government look for ways to increase the supply of hydroxychloroquine, rather than threatening doctors and pharmacists with six months in the slammer or a fine of nearly 14 grand for making it available to sick people?” then you’re thinking like a journalist. Perhaps you could apply for Ms Munro O’Brien’s job… or perhaps not, since the legacy media prefers stenographers to actual journalists.
And indeed, the hydroxychloroquine supply problem was promptly solved by Queensland businessman Clive Palmer, who bought 40 million doses of the drug from overseas sources by late April 2020 (i.e. just a few weeks after Jeanette Young issued the ban), and donated more than 22 million of them to the national medical stockpile before being informed by a Commonwealth Health Department spokeswoman on 18 June 2020 that “no further donations were required”.
However, despite these facts having been reported in the very newspaper which employs her, Ms Munro O’Brien simply regurgitated the Queensland Health spokeswoman’s illogical explanation for Gerrard’s action:
“A Queensland Health spokeswoman said the revocation of the ban was because there was no longer a supply shortage threat, but the medication was still not approved for Covid-19 treatment.”
Restrictions that threatened doctors with a $13000 fine if they prescribed a certain drug revoked
Say what? The “supply shortage threat” was solved almost two years ago. And since off-label prescription of drugs is perfectly legal and universally practised (accounting for up to 40% of prescriptions for adults and up to 90% in some hospitalised paediatric patients), no “approval” is required for doctors to prescribe hydroxychloroquine for prevention or treatment of COVID-19.
Jeanette Young’s criminalisation of the use of hydroxychloroquine to treat COVID-19 patients was just one of a Series of Unfortunate Events that befell this 65+ year old drug that is included in the World Health Organisation’s Model List of Essential Medicines, in the weeks before and in the months after that body declared that COVID-19 was a “Public Health Emergency of International Concern” (PHEIC, which I presume is pronounced like “fake”) on 30 January 2020.
Mathew Crawford has covered the many twists and turns of this gothic tale in The Chloroquine Wars section of his must-read ‘Rounding the Earth’ Substack, but here is a chronology of some of the most significant events:
“We want to self-prescribe chloroquine”, asks a group of doctors
“Current recommended doses for rheumatologic disease are typically 300-400 mg/day and… the maximum dose for malaria has been 800 mg in the first 24 hours. ‘The reasons behind the dose selection in the RECOVERY trial are unclear,’ he says.
‘Hydroxychloroquine overdose is associated with cardiovascular, neurological, and other toxicities, occurring with doses over 1500 mg, and higher doses are associated with fatality.’ He is concerned that hydroxychloroquine toxicity may have contributed to the adverse outcomes and that conclusions based on these results may be unreliable.”
Covid-19: The inside story of the RECOVERY trial
However, in rich Western countries including Australia, the drug’s name was now mud. Other clinical trials which included hydroxychloroquine treatment arms were amended to ditch the drug, including the Australasian COVID-19 Trial (ASCOT) for which Dr John Gerrard was the Gold Coast University Hospital contact.
The National COVID-19 Clinical Evidence Task Force continues to recommend against the use of hydroxychloroquine in any circumstances. It states that “evidence indicates that hydroxychloroquine is potentially harmful and no more effective than standard care in treating patients with COVID-19”, citing the RECOVERY and SOLIDARITY trials as providing the “majority of evidence” for its position without acknowledging the fact that these trials used the drug too late for it to be effective, and employed a known toxic dose.
An open letter sent to Jeanette Young on 29 September 2020 by Federal MPs George Christensen and Craig Kelly, pointing out the flaws in the RECOVERY trial and directing Young to the growing body of evidence supporting the appropriate use of hydroxychloroquine, was met by deafening silence (except by ABC “fact checkers” whose intrepid investigation of the controversy consisted of quoting a TGA statement and asking the executive director of the National COVID-19 Clinical Evidence Task Force, Julian Elliott, for his opinion on the MPs’ claims).
Young extended the hydroxychloroquine ban, which had been due to expire on 2 October 2020. By this time, the probability that hydroxychloroquine was ineffective for early treatment of COVID-19 was nearing 1 in 1 million:
After considering these facts, several important questions arise:
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