France bans hydroxychloroquine as COVID-19 cure

France bans the use of medication touted by Trump as a cure for coronavirus.

Nissan Tzur ,


The French health ministry announced on Wednesday it would be banning the use of hydroxychloroquine as a cure for coronavirus.

"Whether [in doctors’ offices] in the cities or in the hospital, this ... should not be prescribed for patients with COVID-19," the ministry said in a statement quoted by Politico.

On Tuesday, the country’s public health agency advised against using hydroxychloroquine outside of clinical trials. Shortly after that, the national medicines regulator suspended its use in clinical trials.

The decision follows the publication last week of a study in the Lancet, which indicated that using the drug on COVID-19 patients could increase their likelihood of dying, WHO chief Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus told a virtual press conference.

French Health Minister Olivier Véran had asked the National Council for Public Health over the weekend to consider whether he should revise France’s emergency use authorization to prescribe hydroxychloroquine to hospitalized COVID-19 patients.

France’s decision comes two days after the World Health Organization announced that it would be temporarily halting the use of hydroxychloroquine part of its global Solidarity trial amid a safety review.

Hydroxychloroquine is normally used to treat arthritis but pronouncement from public figures including US President Donald Trump, who announced last week he is taking the drug, has prompted governments to bulk buy the medicine.