Chloroquine hype: Pharmacies overwhelmed by requests for the drug

French authorities are asking the public to stop the chloroquine hype, which is contributing to shortages of the drug to those who need it most. This is after it was determined that people are stockpiling the drug in anticipation that they may end up being infected by the virus and the drug might come in handy.

Long hailed as a treatment for Malaria and other autoimmune illnesses such as lupus, chloroquine and its derivatives such as Hydroxychloroquine is being touted as a treatment for coronavirus. The drug is also used to treat rheumatoid arthritis.

The chloroquine hype

The drug has now become a focal point in the fight against coronavirus. Research from the southern city of Marseille in France researched the drug by administering it to 25 coronavirus patients. Data showed that those who received this medication, only 1 in 4 had the virus after six days of treatment with the drug. The other subset of patients who did not receive the drug, the research found, 90 percent had the virus.

The research contributed to chloroquine hype, which even the President of the US Donald Trump tweeted the drug could be the solution for the coronavirus pandemic. Although many experts have warned against stockpiling the drug, this has not stopped people from buying the drug in anticipation of a lasting coronavirus pandemic.

Warning from the French government

Experts are now warning against purchasing the drug, which does not have comprehensive clinical trials. France, for instance, is anticipating a shortage of the drug in pharmacies due to panic buying of the drug. This is, as a result, the touting that has been going on about the drug. The experts said the drug is being overhyped, and this might cause shortages to people who need the medication most.

The French experts have also asked the public to let the hospitals decide on what is best for the treatment of their coronavirus infections. Chloroquine and its derivatives, such as Hydroxychloroquine, are registered to treat Malaria and other autoimmune diseases. One requires a written doctor’s order to purchase the drug in France.

However, under special circumstances, the drug can be prescribed to treat other diseases such as coronavirus if there is enough data to support that it works. The French authorities are asking the public to avoid self-medicating with the drug since it has not gone through trials.

Doubts on the drug’s efficacy

Chloroquine is an antibiotic drug, whereas coronavirus is a viral disease. Normally, antibacterial drugs are ineffective in the treatment of viruses, and health professions around the globe have noted this. There is a debate as to whether the drug is as effective as Pres. Donald Trump is touting it to be and whether it actually works.

France has seen a sharp increase in the number of coronavirus cases reported. The country has over 37,000 confirmed cases and 2,314 people have already succumbed to the disease. It has become one of the most affected countries in Europe, and with misinformation spreading very fast, the fight against the virus is becoming harder each day.


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