Coronavirus update - Chloroquine authorised for use in hospitals in France

In France, the Minister of Health has authorised, supervised by decree, the prescription of chloroquine for patients with coronavirus. This is now possible at the hospital, if the doctor deems it useful.

Plaquenil, derived from chloroquine, can now be delivered to patients with Covid-19. The Minister of Health, Olivier Véran ruled, Thursday, March 26, by a decree published in the Official Journal.

Prescription of this medication is now possible in the hospital, if the doctor deems it useful, without waiting for the results of the ongoing clinical trials.

"Hydroxychloroquine and the combination of lopinavir / ritonavir may be prescribed, dispensed and administered under the responsibility of a doctor to patients affected by Covid-19, in the healthcare establishments which take charge of them, as well as for the continuation of their treatment if their condition allows it and with the authorization of the initial prescriber, at home".

This drug based on hydroxychloroquine, derived from the antimalarial chloroquine, cannot be used "in the management of Covid-19 in (city) medicine", underlined the agency of the drug ANSM, while this drug is currently the subject of a massive demand.

The decree of the Minister of Health also provides for the limitation of the dispensing of Plaquenil in pharmacies to its strict medical indications such as for rheumatoid arthritis or lupus, and the prohibition of the export of specialties containing hydroxychloroquine, but also drugs containing the combination lopinavir / ritonavir, antivirals also tested against Covid-19.

Like all chloroquine medicines, Plaquenil can only be obtained with a prescription. This can indeed present risks if used without proper medical monitoring. Risks in particular cardiac and damage to the retina.

The ANSM, which recalled the strict conditions for the supply of these drugs, asked the Sanofi (Plaquenil), Abbvie (Kaletra) and Mylan (generic Kaletra) laboratories to "deliver wholesalers-distributors as soon as possible and pharmacies". 

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