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Woman with pre-existing condition worried about potential hydroxychloroquine shortage

The FDA issued an emergency order late last month allowing doctors to administer it to coronavirus patients if they saw fit.

CHARLOTTE, N.C. — For weeks now, President Donald Trump has talked about the possibility that the drug hydroxychloroquine could help COVID-19 patients. But that means some in our area who already rely on the drug for their health could be facing a potentially life-threatening shortage.

Michelle Murchison, 36, manages to chase her two little ones despite suffering from painful rheumatoid arthritis.

“Stiffness associated where you literally can’t move," Murchison said. "The pain is pretty intense.”

She was diagnosed as a toddler

“I couldn’t crawl and my knees were swelling," Murchison said.

Among the drugs she’s been on for decades to help treat her disease: hydroxychloroquine. It's the same drug the president has said he’s hopeful could help COVID-19 patients.

In a news conference Sunday, the president said of the drug, “I just think, what do you have to lose.”

Murchison worries there is a lot to lose if the drug is suddenly in high demand -- she needs hydroxychloroquine to prevent the inflammation caused by rheumatoid arthritis attacking her organs. That could be deadly.

“We just need to understand how that impacts everybody who needs the drug that would exponentially increase," she said. "What are we gonna do to supply that? What does that do to people that depend on it every day.”

She says a Charlotte pharmacist told her the once easy to find drug is already in short supply.

“As of last week, they’re only allowed to fill 15 days worth at a time which is problematic," Murchison said. "You’re asking them to go back and forth to the pharmacy - people who already have pre-existing conditions that are more susceptible to COVID.”

The FDA issued an emergency order late last month allowing doctors to administer it to coronavirus patients if they saw fit but admitted they don’t know how much to give patients or for how long because there hasn’t been enough research done yet.

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