SPRINGFIELD, MA (WGGB/WSHM) -- Time now for a Western Mass News exclusive, a local woman suffering from lupus says she it's becoming harder and harder to get her medication.
She takes chloroquine, which is one of the drugs currently being touted as a possible treatment for COVID-19.
Gracie Siano was very candid with Western Mass News, saying she understands the fight those with COVID-19 are going through to get better.
She wanted to share her struggle to get chloroquine, as a way to inform others with lupus, that refilling their prescriptions...is going to be a lot more difficult.
"I take the chloroquine...twice a day," Siano said.
Siano told Western Mass News over the phone and said she's been struggling with lupus for four years.
She said taking chloroquine alleviates the debilitating fatigue and pain that comes with the disease.
"Before I took it I couldn’t walk from one room to the next," Siano noted.
Last week, Siano said she went to refill her prescription with a national pharmacy chain but was told chloroquine was indefinitely out of stock.
She said she was given a list of other pharmacies to try.
"On the third one, I found one that had it," Siano said.
Last week, President Trump and the Coronavirus Task Force stated chloroquine has been identified as a possible treatment for COVID-19.
Western Mass News checked in with Springfield pharmacy, which is locally-owned and gets prescription drugs from wholesalers.
Co-owner Tobias Billups said he's struggling to get chloroquine too.
"Most wholesalers are either limiting the amount you can order or they just don’t have it in stock. We do have multiple means to get it, but everybody seems to either be allocating it or they’re just not available," Billups said.
Allocating the drug, to an extent Billups said he's never seen before.
"If we have a patient who needs it, it’s tough to tell a patient we can’t get it," Billups explained.
Reports from around the country, indicate some doctors nationwide are hoarding untested coronavirus treatments like chloroquine and hydroxychloroquine.
Western Mass News reached out to the Massachusetts Pharmacists Association for a statement, and they said in the part, quote:
"...we collectively support state and federal requirements that direct a prescription must be written only for a legitimate medical purpose. We also strongly support a pharmacist’s professional responsibility to make reasonable inquiries to a prescriber to resolve any questions about a prescription."
For patients like Siano, the increased demand nationwide for chloroquine has created an unexpected rift in her ability to function day-to-day.
"Everybody needs their medicine for whatever reason and if you stop taking it you’re going to run into trouble," Siano said.
Chloroquine has also been approved as a treatment for malaria.
Right now it is being used on COVID-19 patients in New York City.