By Daniel Bobinski
On March 18, Idaho’s Governor Brad Little restricted pharmacists from dispensing hydroxychloroquine for off label use. Since that time, 217 Idahoans have died from Covid-related deaths, many of them without the choice to be treated with zinc and hydroxychloroquine. Suddenly Governor Little is calling a special session of Idaho’s part-time legislature to address “liability reform during emergencies.” Documents obtained by this writer show an objective for the special session is to establish immunity from civil liability.
One question being asked by Idahoans is, “Immunity from what?” They want to know if the governor is attempting to shield himself from lawsuits by families of people who died of Covid because the governor restricted off-label use of hydroxychloroquine.
Other questions heard by this writer include:
- “Why did Governor Little block the use of hydroxychloroquine for off-label use the day before it became an issue at the national coronavirus press briefing?”
- “Since when does a governor get to tell doctors what they can or cannot prescribe?”
A memo published March 19 by the Idaho State Board of Pharmacy reads as follows (emphasis added):
Yesterday the Board conducted an emergency meeting and approved the following language at the request of the Governor. The new Temporary Rule is effective immediately.
No prescription for chloroquine or hydroxychloroquine may be dispensed except if all the following apply:
- The prescription bears a written diagnosis from the prescriber consistent with the evidence for its use;
- The prescription is limited to no more than a fourteen (14) day supply, unless the patient was previously established on the medication prior to the effective date of this rule; and
- No refills may be permitted unless a new prescription is furnished.
Let that sink in.
- The governor had the State Board of Pharmacy meet for a special session.
- At the governor’s request, hydroxychloroquine was restricted – before it became controversial
On March 26, Idaho’s State Board of Pharmacy also restricted the use of azithromycin using almost identical wording. Those rules stayed in place until the Board of Pharmacy rescinded them on June 11. This writer has spoken with several medical doctors, including emergency room physician Joshua Dopko, who all said never in their decades of medical practice had they seen any drug be restricted for off-label use.
A non-responsive governor
Multiple attempts have been made by Miste Karlfeldt, Executive Director of Health Freedom Idaho, to meet with Governor Little since the Covid crisis began, but the governor has remained reclusive and generally unavailable to people wanting to talk with him. It’s been only recently that the Governor has appeared on a morning talk radio show in Boise, where questions are highly regulated.
In a conversation this writer had with a high-ranking state official who chooses to remain anonymous, Governor Little was described as undergoing a “Jekyll/Hyde” conversion when Covid came to town. He went from governing like a solid conservative to bending his knee to the medical establishment.
Example: At a press conference early in the Covid scare, Governor Little was asked about herd immunity. Rather than discuss the matter, Little quickly brushed the idea aside, saying, “Developing herd immunity takes too long. The ability to go back to normal depends on a vaccine.”
Hydroxychloroquine’s role in treating Covid has been hotly debated by medical professionals since President Trump brought it up after being contacted by Dr. Vladimir Zelenko about its effectiveness. The drug, commonly called HCQ, was approved in 1965 and has been on the World Health Organization’s list of Essential Medicines for decades. It is prescribed worldwide in generic form for mere pennies per dose.
Studies showing HCQ to be dangerous published by the Lancet and the New England Journal of Medicine were debunked and both journals were forced to issue retractions.
In an interview with this writer, Karlfeldt said, “The governor’s restriction of HCQ is abhorrent. HCQ is one of the safest and most effective prescription drugs. It impressively improves survival [of Covid], it’s inexpensive, and we have good supply. In contrast, the government-favored drug, remdesivir, has only been shown to decrease survivors’ hospital stay by four days, with no demonstrable improvement in survival.”
It should be noted that whereas HCQ costs pennies per dose, remdesivir costs approximately $3,000 per dose.
Karlfeldt also said, “Why would the Governor deny Idahoans a possible life saving measure? Why has he put himself in a position of authority over our medical choices and our health care providers? The Governor needs to remove himself as the dictator of healthcare and leave treatment options where they belong, between the doctors and their patients.”
The State of Idaho receives $100,000 for every Covid patient, and, because nothing has been published otherwise, hospitals are still receiving $13,000 for every Covid patient admitted and $39,000 for every Covid patient that requires a ventilator.
Why is the governor seeking immunity?
The consensus among many Idahoans is that Little would not be seeking immunity unless his lawyers were telling him to do so. Attorney Colton Boyles, founding partner of Boyles Law in Sandpoint, Idaho, told this writer, “It is quite possible Governor Little is guilty of practicing medicine without a license. Idaho law is clear about who can diagnose and treat a disease, and for an non-licensed elected official to determine how a medicine is to be used or not used may be crossing that line.”
Boyles continued, “Doctors say zinc, HCQ, and azithromycin are highly effective at treating Covid at the onset of symptoms. With that, for the Governor to restrict that treatment means more patients ended up in the hospital, and that’s where the federal aid money comes in. It’s not hard to see how access to federal money has been driving decisions in our government and creating a politically motivated mis-spending frenzy.”
When asked about the governor seeking immunity, Karlfeldt said, “Governor Little seems to be seeking liability for himself, his cronies, and businesses willing to do his bidding. Can you imagine a world where government, schools, and businesses can require anything from you and enforce anything upon you in the name of ‘safety,’ but do so without liability? This is in direct conflict with our structure of government. Executive, legislative, and judicial all are to be three coequal branches of government. Essentially, the governor would like the executive and legislative branch to be untouchable by the citizens and the judicial branch. If the government grants itself immunity, this would be an egregious violation of the Constitution and their oaths of office.”
Daniel Bobinski, M.Ed. is a certified behavioral analyst, best-selling author, corporate trainer, executive coach, and columnist. He’s also a veteran and a self-described Christian Libertarian who believes in the principles of free market capitalism – while standing firmly against crony capitalism.