The Ministry of Health through the Pharmacy and Poisons Board has with immediate effect banned the sale of Hydrochloroquine and Chloroquine medicine to persons without a valid prescription from a medical doctor.
In a notice to all health care professions, the board noted that members of the public have been stocking the drugs as self-medication for Coronavirus (COVID-19).
This is after United States President Donald Trump touted the drug as a possible treatment for Covid-19.
The board warned that the irrational use of the drugs may lead to irreversible blindness.
“Following the news that the United States of America is using Chloroquine and Hydroxychloroquine to treat SARS-COV-2, there has been a rush by many to acquire these medicines from pharmacies to stock them.
“… Please note that irrational use of this hydroxychloroquine may lead to irreversible blindness which is detrimental to the health of the general public,” says the board.
In the wake of Trump’s comments medics are yet to approve the drug as a treatment for COVID-19.
According to medical researchers, while a study found the molecule showed “apparent efficacy” in treating the disease, trials are still ongoing.
“Please note that clinical trials utilizing the two medicines arc currently ongoing and no robust clinical data substantiating their use for prophylaxis and curative purposes is available, hence caution has to be applied when using them, ” the board added.
“The Board, therefore, prohibits all pharmacies and chemists from dispensing these to clients without a valid prescription from a medical doctor, since there are real patients who are in need and depend on these medications every day to improve their quality of life.”
The notice comes days after a man died in Arizona, United States, after taking chloroquine phosphate, an additive used to clean fish tanks that is also found in the anti-malaria medication.
Three other people are said to have overdosed the drug in Nigeria forcing Health Officials in the country to issue a warning against its use to treat COVID-19.