- US President Donald Trump claimed last week that the Food and Drug Administration had approved the “very powerful” drug chloroquine to treat coronavirus
- The Lagos State Health Ministry issued a brief statement saying there was no “hard evidence that chloroquine is effective in the prevention or management of coronavirus infection.”
- Chloroquine is used to treat malaria, lupus and rheumatoid arthritis.
Nigerian Health officials have issued a stern warning over the abuse of “chloroquine” after three people in the country had overdosed on the drug, in the wake of President Trump’s comments about using it to treat coronavirus.
Please note: Hospitals Now Receiving Patients Suffering From Chloroquine Poisoning, Says Gov @jidesanwoolu's SSA on Health, Dr @Oreoluwa_Finnih
She urged people against massive consumption of Chloroquine as a measure to fight #coronavirus. pic.twitter.com/Q4vLS79KUs
— gboyega akosile (@gboyegaakosile) March 20, 2020
“It’s shown very encouraging — very, very encouraging early results. And we’re going to be able to make that drug available almost immediately. And that’s where the FDA has been so great. They — they’ve gone through the approval process; it’s been approved. And they did it — they took it down from many, many months to immediate. So we’re going to be able to make that drug available by prescription or states,” Trump said.
Donald Trump’s endorsement of chloroquine led to a surge of interest among Nigerians keen to stock up on the medication, causing sudden price hikes nationwide.
The Lagos State Health Ministry has now issued a brief statement saying there was no “hard evidence that chloroquine is effective in the prevention or management of coronavirus infection.”
Nigeria’s Center for Disease Control also cautioned citizens from self-medicating with the drug, which is still undergoing testing for safety and effectiveness.
“[The World Health Orgniazation] has NOT approved the use of chloroquine for #COVID19 management,” the agency wrote on Twitter. “Scientists are working hard to confirm the safety of several drugs for this disease.”
Oreoluwa Finnih, senior health assistant to the governor of Lagos, also told Nigerians “not to panic” and use the drug.
“Chloroquine is still in a testing phase in combination with other medication and not yet verified as a preventive treatment or curative option,” Finnih said.
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