Health authorities around the world are issuing warnings over the use of chloroquine and hydroxychloroquine after US President Donald Trump's comments about treating COVID-19 with them sparked panic-buying and overdoses, reported The Wall Street Journal.
According to the news source, thousands of consumers across Africa and South Asia rushed to stockpile the antimalarial drugs in recent days, depleting supplies in cities in the developing world, leading to price surges and prompting warnings from local authorities.
"There is no known dosage for COVID-19 and whether it can actually cure it, it's safer to avoid chloroquine," said Chris Kaganda, a Ugandan public health expert, "but, you know, these are desperate times."
Nigeria's government said three people had been hospitalized after overdosing on chloroquine, while pharmacies in Lagos reported running out of supplies.
The news source said similar panic-buying scenes took place in Uganda, Ghana, Kenya and Morocco, while chloroquine has also sold out in pharmacies across Pakistan, according to those looking for the drug.
Trump told the FDA last week to expedite testing and use of the "very powerful" drug chloroquine to treat coronavirus. He later tweeted that hydroxychloroquine and the antibiotic azithromycin "taken together" could be "one of the biggest game-changers in the history of medicine" and urged them to be deployed.
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