Millions of chloroquine tablets donated by Bayer could be ineffective for treating COVID-19

Bayer donated millions of tablets of chloroquine to national health authorities around the world in anticipation of its possible usage as a treatment for COVID-19. However, these donated tablets may be inadequate for treating COVID-19 due to potential side effects, says GlobalData, a leading data and analytics company.

Quentin Horgan, Drugs Database Analyst at GlobalData, comments: “The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) issued a drug safety communication to warn against the use of hydroxychloroquine or chloroquine outside of clinical trial or hospital settings. This was based on reports of ‘serious heart rhythm problems’ caused by hydroxychloroquine or chloroquine usage.”

Currently, there are 115 approved generic chloroquine and hydroxychloroquine drugs across all regions of the globe, with every region having five or more approved drugs available. The Asia-Pacific (APAC) region has the greatest number of approved drugs of chloroquine and hydroxychloroquine, with 74 approved generics available; this is largely due to the presence of India, which is the largest supplier of generic drugs globally. The EMEA region has the second largest number with 28 chloroquine and hydroxychloroquine generics approved; if they are proven effective this will be particularly helpful for COVID-19 cases within the EMEA.

Horgan concludes: “Despite more information being required to review chloroquine and hydroxychloroquine use, the US and EU are currently offering chloroquine and hydroxychloroquine on a compassionate basis against COVID-19, but only for severe cases and under medical supervision.”

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