MADISON, Wis. (AP) — Doctors and hospital leaders are pushing back against a package of Republican bills that seek to bar health care providers from withholding unproven treatments for COVID-19.
The three bills released this week would prevent health systems and medical credentialing boards from disciplining doctors for ordering or advocating for therapies or medicine for patients that go against medical opinions held by their employers or regulators.
The legislation would force pharmacists to fill all prescriptions ordered by doctors except in rare circumstances, the Journal Sentinelreported.
The bills, if passed, could be vetoed by Democratic Gov. Tony Evers.
The legislation allows doctors and pharmacists to provide COVID-19 patients with drugs that have not been proven to be safe treatments for such infections, such as ivermectin and hydroxychloroquine.
“Regardless of the forces behind this troubling trend, (the legislation) seeks to reverse the unprecedented level of interference with the physician-patient relationship that has been witnessed over the past two years, whether it pertains to the treatment of COVID-19 or other diseases,” Republican lawmakers said in a memo to colleagues.
Medical Society of Wisconsin board chairman Dr. Jerry Halverson said the bills could “undermine basic safeguards” that ensure patients receive safe and effective care.
“As the state’s largest physician organization, we very carefully listen to our members to make sure there’s no undue interference with a physician providing appropriate care for their patients,” Halverson said in a statement.