COVID-19: DAK calls for ban on sale of hydroxychloroquine without prescription

Srinagar: Following the approval of arthritis drug, hydroxychloroquine for the treatment and prophylaxis of the novel (new) coronavirus, Doctors Association Kashmir (DAK) on Tuesday has called for ban on the sale of the drug without valid prescription from a registered medical practitioner.

“Chemist shops should refrain from selling the drug without doctor’s prescription,” said DAK President Dr Nisar ul Hassan.

“The arthritis drug that has been found to be effective against the novel coronavirus falls under the schedule H of the Drugs and Cosmetic Rules, which means it can be sold only under prescription,” he said.

“However, regulations for pharmacies are lax and violations are rampant. The drug is sold widely over the counter without prescription,” he added.

Dr Nisar said after the reports that hydroxychloroquine cures the new virus, people are rushing to pharmacies and hoarding the drug.
“I urge people not to go and find the drug, because they will be taking it out of the hands of those who need it most,” he said.

“It has also been seen that some doctors are writing so many prescriptions of the drug for themselves and their families and stockpiling these medications. We need to take steps to stop these inappropriate prescriptions,” he added.

Dr Nisar said ICMR has recommended hydroxychloroquine as preventive medication for healthcare workers involved in the care of suspected or confirmed cases of the novel coronavirus and for household contacts of laboratory confirmed cases.

“The recommendation came after a French study showed promising results for hydroxychloroquine as a treatment for novel virus, and when used with Azithromycin, it significantly reduced viral load,” he said adding that 100% of patients treated with hydroxychloroquine were virologically cured at day 6 of treatment.

Dr Nisar said though the sample size was small, the results were encouraging.

“It is, therefore recommended that the new virus be treated with the combination of hydroxychloroquine and Azithromycin to cure the infection and to prevent the transmission of the virus to other people to prevent the spread of the new virus,” he said.

“Both drugs are in use for decades. While hydroxychloroquine is given for lupus and Rheumatoid Arthritis, Azithromycin is an antibiotic used for the treatment of number of bacterial infections,” said Dr Nisar. (GNS)

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