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Hydroxychloroquine shortages during the COVID-19 pandemic
  1. Arielle Mendel1,
  2. Sasha Bernatsky1,2,
  3. J Carter Thorne3,
  4. Diane Lacaille4,5,
  5. Sindhu R Johnson6,7,
  6. Évelyne Vinet1,2
  1. 1 Division of Rheumatology, McGill University Health Centre, Montreal, Québec, Canada
  2. 2 Centre for Outcome Research and Evaluation (CORE), Research Institute of the McGill University Health Centre, Montreal, Québec, Canada
  3. 3 Department of Medicine, Southlake Regional Health Centre, Newmarket, Ontario, Canada
  4. 4 Division of Rheumatology, University of British Columbia, Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada
  5. 5 Arthritis Research Canada, Richmond, British Columbia, Canada
  6. 6 Division of Rheumatology, Toronto Western Hospital, Mount Sinai Hospital, Toronto, Ontario, Canada
  7. 7 Institute of Health Policy, Management and Evaluation, University of Toronto, Toronto, Ontario, Canada
  1. Correspondence to Dr Arielle Mendel, Department of Medicine, Division of Rheumatology, McGill University Health Centre, Montreal, Quebec H4A 3J1, Canada; arielle.mendel{at}

Statistics from

Across the globe, concerns of hydroxychloroquine (HCQ) supply shortages for patients with rheumatic disease are growing,1 in part as a consequence of the immense scientific and public enthusiasm for HCQ as a potential COVID-19 therapy.2 3 However, published data on the occurrence of HCQ shortages during the COVID-19 pandemic are presently lacking. Therefore, we conducted a national survey of 531 Canadian rheumatologists between 14 and 24 April 2020. The 5-question electronic survey (French or English) included province of practice, whether respondents were concerned about HCQ shortages in their province, and whether they had been contacted by patients or pharmacies regarding difficulties renewing HCQ prescriptions during the COVID-19 pandemic. Physicians who answered ‘yes’ to the latter question were asked to estimate for how many patients this occurred. The McGill University Health Centre research ethics board approved this survey.

Of 134 rheumatologists who completed the survey (25% response rate), three quarters (n=102, 76%) were concerned about HCQ shortages, while 81 (60%) had been contacted by pharmacies or patients …

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