Chloroquine (a well known anti-malaria drug) has recently been getting a lot of attention these days especially on social media as a potential medicine to treat the coronavirus COVID-19. This is not without consequences to the general public.
For more on chloroquine, read what you should know about chloroquine: uses, side effects, safety
“A drug meant for good can become a dangerous weapon in the wrong hands”
- Taking a drug not approved for an illness puts you at risk: believe it or not, as of now there is no approved medicine for covid-19 yet. Most drugs like chloroquine (and azithromycin) are still under investigation as a treatment or prevention of covid-19. It’s safety and effectiveness has not yet been established. (Food and Drug Administration)
- Self-medication puts you at risk of self-harm:chlorquine is a prescription drug meaning it has to be given (prescribed to) you by your physician based on your unique conditions (age, weight, other medical conditions, other medicines etc) Many already reported dead from self medication of It’s use especially with azithromycin has to be monitiored in a hospital setting as both medicines affect the heart.
- Buying from non-accredited sources exposes to the risk of counterfeit medicines:the pharmacies are running out of stock and people in their fear run to their street ‘doctas’ and we have already established that roadside medicines apart from their poor storage conditions, limited knowledge also have high risk of selling counterfeit medicines. Note be taken that chloroquine does not have a Marketing Authorization in Cameroon (as said by the Minister of Public Health) yet so high chances people are bringing it in illegally and not passing through the proper channels. The National Laboratory for Quality Control of Medicines (LANACOME) released a communique saying how they tested some chloroquine sold in the public market and results showed 2 presentations did not contain any active ingredients.
- By buying and storing you are creating an imaginary shortageand making the drug unavailable for those who actually need it. Some countries are already crying of a shortage because people have bought to store. In some cases some health care providers stealing some for themselves and their families.
- Marketers profiting from the panic to make profit:this imaginary shortage of chloroquine and panic due to coronavirus, marketers are making huge profits from the fears of the general population with the exorbitant increase in prices.
- Taking antibiotics not prescribed to you (example the azithromycin which is also rising up in fame like chloroquine) increases your risk of developing antibiotic resistance, making the drug ineffective when you actually need it.
- You might not even have covid-19: most who self-medicated actually also self-diagnosed. Did you ever stop to consider you are probably not infected with covid-19??? As you do this, you delay treating your underlying issues.
So so, let’s stop this craze. Do not let the fear of the virus kill you faster than the virus. DO NOT PANIC!
Be well informed (credible sources like World Health Organization and your local public health authority not ‘oversabi’ (know-it-all) self-proclaimed social media doctors)
Follow the measures put in place (washing hand, social distancing, dab when coughing…)
Call emergency numbers if you feel the symptoms.
About the Author
Dr. Ekwoge Hilda is a trained pharmacist from Cameroon and Co-founder of HILPharma. When she is not busy creating content, she slings pills to pay the bills at the Buea Regional Hospital and also serves as the Focal Point for Supply Chain Management of drugs in the district of Buea.