Local physician’s assistant accused of stockpiling hydroxychloroquine

Physician’s assistant accused of stockpiling hydroxychloroquine

GASTON COUNTY, N.C. — North Carolina’s medical board found that physician’s assistant Brian O’Connor wrote himself and his family prescriptions for hydroxychloroquine even though none of them had COVID-19 or needed it.

A letter from the medical board said O’Connor did it when the pandemic gripped almost every continent with no cure in sight.

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O’Connor, who works at CaroMont Heart in Gaston County, admitted he read an article that touted the benefits of using the drug to treat COVID-19. In March, he wrote prescriptions for himself and his immediate family.

Medical board investigators determined O’Connor was stockpiling the medicine for his family.

“I think it’s very selfish of a doctor to do that for his family when they didn’t need it, didn’t test positive for COVID-19,” said Allison Beatty, who is a pharmacist and a patient who was prescribed hydroxychloroquine for arthritis.

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She knows the positive difference the drug can make.

“Just everyday activities like getting out of the bed in the morning,” Beatty said.

Don Thrower, who is a pharmacist and the co-owner of Medical Center Pharmacy, said there was a huge demand for the drug after President Donald Trump told Americans in May he was taking the medicine to prevent catching COVID-19

People still wanted hydroxychloroquine despite medical experts’ warnings to not use it for COVID-19.

“We would order it and not get it. Order it and not get it,” Thrower said.

The supply is still limited, he said.

“They don’t have any at the warehouse,” Thrower said.

Medical experts said hydroxychloroquine can be most harmful to people with heart problems.

NCDHHS receives 1.5 million hydroxychloroquine tablets for long term care facilities, hospitals