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Early scientific and public enthusiasm for hydroxychloroquine (HCQ) as a potential therapy for COVID-19 has prompted over 100 registered trials to date, although its efficacy remains to be demonstrated.1 Unfortunately, accelerated demand for HCQ has the potential to diminish supplies for patients with systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE), which is worrisome due to the known risks of SLE flare after HCQ withdrawal.2 We previously reported that rheumatologists in most Canadian provinces observed HCQ shortages early in the COVID-19 pandemic.3 However, data are lacking on the global experience with HCQ access during the pandemic, specifically in SLE.
On 4 May 2020, we distributed an electronic survey to the 42 Systemic Lupus Erythematosus International Collaborating Clinics (SLICC) members affiliated with SLE referral centres (https://sliccgroup.org), with reminders after 1 and 3 weeks. Physicians were asked about experiences with HCQ shortages during the COVID-19 pandemic, and whether they had been contacted by patients and/or pharmacists regarding difficulties accessing HCQ. Physicians who answered ‘yes’ to the latter question were asked to estimate how many and what proportion …
Handling editor Josef S Smolen
Contributors AM, SB, EV: conception or design of the study; data acquisition, analysis and interpretation; drafting the work; revising it critically for important intellectual content; final approval of the version published. AA, S-CB, AEC, NC-C, DDG, CG, JH, SJ, KK, AM, MM, BAP-E, GR-I, MU: data analysis and interpretation; revising the work critically for important intellectual content; final approval of the version published. All authors agree to be accountable for all aspects of the work in ensuring that questions related to the accuracy or integrity of any part of the work are appropriately investigated and resolved.
Funding The authors have not declared a specific grant for this research from any funding agency in the public, commercial or not-for-profit sectors.
Competing interests AEC reports consulting fees (less than $10 000) from Bristol Myers Squibb, Exagen Diagnostics and AstraZenca, outside the submitted work.
Patient and public involvement Patients and/or the public were not involved in the design, or conduct, or reporting or dissemination plans of this research.
Patient consent for publication Not required.
Ethics approval The McGill University Research Ethics Board approved this survey.
Provenance and peer review Not commissioned; externally peer reviewed.