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Can Utah Get A Refund On $800K Hydroxychloroquine Order?

Utah Gov. Gary Herbert during his live press conference on Friday afternoon.

On Friday, during the daily update on the state’s coronavirus efforts, Gov. Gary Herbert said the state has not yet taken possession of the 20,000 units of Hydroxychloroquine previously ordered (costing the state $800,000) to treat coronavirus cases in Utah. The U.S. Food and Drug Administration has recommended not using the malaria-treatment drug as a treatment for the coronavirus, and a Virginia study from a Veterans’ Affair hospital claimed the drug was not only an ineffective treatment of COVID-19, but showed an increased mortality rate among patients

Herbert said any additional purchase of Hydroxychloroquine has been removed from the table and what the state will do with the already purchased amount — if the state takes possession of the order — is yet to be determined, and the decision will be based on trials and clinical studies. He said the entire situation is under review by the state’s legal council, including options for the state to receive a refund, and more information will be available next week after review.

Herbert said something  to look forward to is his plan to reduce Utah’s risk category under the Utah Leads Together 2.0 plan from “Red” to “Orange” by the end of next week, though he emphasized that maintaining the decreasing trajectory of coronavirus cases will require continued social distancing and hygiene precautions. Herbert said one of the most visible changes will be the limited opening of restaurants for dine-in services, with increased spacing between tables and temperature screenings for employees.

Herbert said opening more state and national parks and more opportunity for “non-essential travel”, such as the opening of Lake Powell in early May, is also being discussed, and he’s planning to update the public next week on what activities Utahns will be allowed to participate in with the risk reduction.