Dunnavant, legislature’s only medical doctor, votes to support unapproved COVID-19 medicine promoted by Trump | State and Regional News


Sen. Amanda Chase, R-Chesterfield (left), and Senate President Pro Tempore Louise Lucas, D-Portsmouth, have a discussion on the floor of the Virginia Senate at the state Capitol in Richmond on Thursday.

The Virginia legislature’s only medical doctor supported a bill on Thursday aimed at encouraging health care providers to be allowed to prescribe drugs to treat COVID-19 that have not been approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration for that purpose.

The bill, sponsored by Sen. Amanda Chase, R-Chesterfield, would have prohibited the state from disciplining health care providers who prescribe the two drugs for that purpose.

The Senate Education and Health Committee rejected the bill on a partisan vote of 8-6, with Democrats opposed and Republicans in support. The bill would have prohibited the state Board of Medicine from punishing providers who prescribe, to treat COVID, the anti-parasite drug ivermectin and drug hydroxychloroquine, which can be used to treat arthritis or malaria.

“We have recently made medical marijuana available in Virginia because we believe that there are decisions that can be made between doctors and patients about the risk and the value of medications and how they’re used, and I really don’t think that the state should be obstructing those conversations,” said Sen. Siobhan Dunnavant, R-Henrico, an OB-GYN and a member of the committee.

“There should be no obstructions to prescribing these medications.”