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South Dakota To Be First State To Conduct Hydroxychloroquine Trials

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South Dakota Governor Kristi Noem announced Monday that her state will be the first to conduct clinical trials of hydroxychloroquine, a drug hailed by many doctors and patients as a miracle solution in the fight against an invisible enemy, the coronavirus.

“From day one, I’ve said we’re going to let the science, facts, and data drive our decision-making in South Dakota. Throughout last week, I communicated with White House officials to let them know that South Dakota’s medical community was ready to step up and lead the way on research efforts,” Noem said in Monday’s press release.

https://twitter.com/realDonaldTrump/status/1241367245143642113

Her statement continued, “I made direct requests to President Trump and Vice President Pence to supply us with enough hydroxychloroquine so that it could be made available for every hospitalized person the state may have as well as for those healthcare workers on the frontlines and those in the most vulnerable populations.”

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration authorized the emergency use of hydroxychloroquine last month after it showed promising results of recovery in early clinical trials. The anti-malaria pill, coupled with the antibiotic azithromycin, has since been used to treat many patients diagnosed with the coronavirus.

South Dakota will soon test the drug on a larger scale with the help of Sanford Health, Avera and Monument Health. The three providers will treat up to 100,000 coronavirus patients, healthcare workers and anyone else with high-risk of exposure to the virus, according to the press release.

The state currently has 868 confirmed cases of the virus and has seen six deaths.

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Healthcare

Supreme Court rules anti-abortion doctors lack standing to sue FDA

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Supreme Court

In a unanimous decision on Thursday, the Supreme Court ruled that the anti-abortion doctors who challenged the Food and Drug Administration’s (FDA) approval of the abortion pill mifepristone lack the standing to sue the federal agency. This ruling preserves the FDA’s existing approval of the drug.

The opinion, authored by Justice Brett Kavanaugh, emphasized that the plaintiffs presented “several complicated causation theories to connect FDA’s actions to the plaintiffs’ alleged injuries in fact.” However, none of these theories were sufficient to establish Article III standing, which requires a personal stake in the dispute.

National Review reports the lawsuit was filed in November 2022 by the Alliance Defending Freedom (ADF) on behalf of the Alliance for Hippocratic Medicine and four pro-life doctors. The plaintiffs claimed that the FDA had no authority to approve the two-pill chemical-abortion regimen under Subpart H, a federal code section allowing expedited approval for drugs treating “serious or life-threatening illnesses.” They argued that pregnancy is not an illness but a normal physiological state.

The plaintiffs also challenged the FDA’s 2016 and 2021 decisions to relax restrictions on mifepristone, such as increasing the gestational age for its use, reducing required office visits, allowing non-doctors to prescribe the pills, and permitting mail delivery during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Abortion opponents expressed disappointment with the decision. Erin Hawley, a lawyer with ADF, criticized the FDA for allegedly endangering women by allowing the use of mifepristone without in-person medical supervision. Ingrid Skop from the Charlotte Lozier Institute and Katie Daniel from Susan B. Anthony Pro-Life America echoed similar sentiments, stressing their concerns about the safety of mail-order abortion drugs.

President Joe Biden, however, applauded the decision, highlighting the ongoing risks to women’s rights to necessary medical treatment in many states.

Justice Kavanaugh’s opinion stated that the plaintiffs did not demonstrate a direct injury that would force them to participate in abortion procedures against their conscience. He added that concerns about the potential for increased emergency room visits did not justify legal standing.

Kavanaugh noted that doctors and citizens opposed to FDA regulations should seek changes through legislative and executive branches rather than the courts. This decision aligns with a previous lower court ruling that found the legal challenge was filed too late, beyond the statute of limitations.

Earlier this year, U.S. District Judge Matthew Kacsmaryk in Texas ruled in favor of the plaintiffs, suspending the FDA’s approval of mifepristone. This decision was subsequently overturned by the Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals, which restored access to the drug. The Supreme Court’s stay ensured that the drug remained available while legal proceedings continued.

Democratic lawmakers welcomed the Supreme Court’s ruling. Congresswoman Ayanna Pressley described it as a “major relief & victory for anyone who has ever or will ever need essential medication abortion care.” Senator Elizabeth Warren criticized the challenge as baseless and underscored the safety and effectiveness of chemical-abortion pills. She warned of ongoing efforts by Republicans to impose a nationwide abortion ban and called for continued protection of reproductive freedom.

 

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