DAVENPORT, IOWA (December 21, 2022) — Former Iowa Senator David Hartsuch MD has filed a lawsuit against the Iowa Boards of Medicine and Pharmacy to protect the rights of Iowa patients and their physicians from unlawful Board activity.
Dr Hartsuch explained, “These Boards are preventing patients from receiving early life-saving treatment by unlawfully suppressing physician speech considered contrary to the State narrative concerning COVID-19.”
In March of 2020, the Director of the Board of Medicine e-mailed a joint statement to physicians to prevent them from prescribing hydroxychloroquine (HCQ) and Azithromycin (a common antibiotic used to treat bronchitis which frequently accompanies the disease.)
Dr Hartsuch noted that not only was this statement sent without Board approval, but it also conflicted with the best-known medical science. In July 2020, he petitioned the Board to consider the matter formally and provided scientific medical information that demonstrated the importance of early intervention with HCQ.
In October 2020, the Boards issued a revised joint statement allowing the use of the drugs. However, the Medical Board’s Director refused a request by Dr Hartsuch to directly inform all licensees of the change in Board policy. The Director also ignored FOIA requests by Dr Hartsuch for the science behind the Boards’ original statement.
Said Dr Hartsuch, “I was later shocked to discover that, despite the Boards’ new policy permitting the use of these drugs, doctors in Iowa who lawfully treated COVID-19, including myself, were being investigated for the very thing the new policy allowed. Worse yet, pharmacists, under the direction of the Board of Pharmacy, refused to fill lawful prescriptions for these life-saving drugs.”
In October, 2021, one of Dr Hartsuch’s patients filed a complaint with the Pharmacy Board because a pharmacist refused to dispense these drugs. The Board of Medicine retaliated with an unfounded and punitive nine-month investigation against Dr Hartsuch, which recently concluded. “Many great physicians who properly treated COVID-19 are still under investigation by the Board of Medicine. This needs to stop now!” said Dr Hartsuch.
Since the Board of Pharmacy has refused to enforce rules prohibiting discrimination based upon disease, pharmacy chains have denied patients with COVID-19 their rights to access these life-saving drugs. Furthermore, Dr Hartsuch alleges the Boards trampled upon his patient’s Constitutional right to Petition the Government For a Redress of Grievances.
Dr Hartsuch said, "Patients rely upon State Boards to protect their health. Instead, these heavyweights have tag-teamed patients with a simultaneous body slam: The Board of Medicine silenced doctors while the Board of Pharmacy prevented patients from receiving early life-saving treatment. For over two years, they have assaulted patients and people have died. I hope that this lawsuit will shed light on the process and bring the action of the Boards into conformance with Iowa Law. Governor Reynolds needs to intervene. Patients need relief."
Dr Hartsuch is seeking enforcement of Iowa Law rather than monetary damages. Dr Hartsuch is an Emergency Medicine physician with over twenty years of practice. Dr Hartsuch can be reached for comment at 563-923-7424.