Southwest District Health responds to comments regarding hydroxychloroquine use for treatment of COVID-19


Southwest District Health responds to comments regarding hydroxychloroquine use for treatment of COVID-19

CALDWELL, IDAHO – In response to comments made during a recent Southwest District Board of Health meeting, Southwest District Health Medical Director, Clay Roscoe, MD, MPH, has provided a statement regarding evidence on hydroxychloroquine use for treatment of COVID-19.

“In summary, hydroxychloroquine is a relatively well-tolerated drug, based on clinical data from many years of use with malaria prophylaxis and management of rheumatologic conditions. However, “based on the review of the available evidence today, and guidance provided by the CDC, FDA, WHO and American College of Physicians, as of August 11, 2020, there is not enough quality evidence to demonstrate that hydroxychloroquine has a clear benefit with treating COVID-19. Furthermore, when using hydroxychloroquine to treat COVID-19, there is evidence of at least moderate harm, including a small chance that the person being treated with hydroxychloroquine may have an increased risk of developing an irregular heart rhythm and liver damage, and possibly an increased risk of death,” said Roscoe.

Presently, three large, in-progress randomized controlled trials evaluating hydroxychloroquine have been stopped early due to lack of efficacy in preliminary analyses. Also, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration recently revoked its emergency use authorization for chloroquine and hydroxychloroquine for the treatment of COVID-19 due to potential significant harms and lack of benefits.

Science is an ever-learning, ever-developing process. More trials will be completed on the use of this and other medications for possible use with treating COVID-19. It will continue to be necessary to evaluate these results using an unbiased, scientific, logical approach in order to continue to make the best decisions about the best treatment approaches for COVID-19,” added Roscoe.

Southwest District Health acknowledges that its Board of Health members share varied opinions on this topic. Southwest District Health District Director, Nikki Zogg, encourages communities to understand that other than the Board of Health’s physician representative, each Board of Health member represents their county’s constituents.  “Southwest District Health’s Board of Health is comprised of a physician representative and one representative from each of the six counties in the district – Adams, Canyon, Gem, Owyhee, Payette, and Washington. Each county’s representative is designated by that county’s Board of County Commissioners and confirmed by the other five Board of County Commissioners. The personal opinions of the members of the Board of Health may not align with or reflect the guidance and recommendations provided by Southwest District Health,” said Zogg.

Individuals may direct comments or concerns for Board of Health members by email to:

Southwest District Health urges all residents to take precautions to slow the spread of COVID-19. This includes practicing physical distancing, wearing face coverings in public places where social distancing is hard to maintain, washing hands often, staying home when sick, and regularly sanitizing often touched surfaces.

Questions may be directed to the SWDH COVID-19 Call Center Monday through Friday from 8:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. at 208-455-5411. Please refer to for the latest local numbers and data and for statewide information.

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Media Contacts: 

Katrina Williams
Ashley Anderson