Nigeria issues warning for drug touted by Trump after overdoses
Nigerian health officials on Monday issued a warning about chloroquine, an antimalarial drug President Trump has repeatedly touted as a possible coronavirus treatment, saying three people have overdosed on it.
Lagos State Gov. Babajide Sanwo-Olu’s press secretary, Gboyega Akosile, tweeted that the governor’s senior special assistant on health, Oreoluwa Finnih, had warned against “massive consumption” of the drug.
Please note: Hospitals Now Receiving Patients Suffering From Chloroquine Poisoning, Says Gov @jidesanwoolu‘s SSA on Health, Dr @Oreoluwa_Finnih
She urged people against massive consumption of Chloroquine as a measure to fight #coronavirus. pic.twitter.com/Q4vLS79KUs
— gboyega akosile (@gboyegaakosile) March 20, 2020
An official in Lagos told CNN that three residents of the capital had been hospitalized as of Monday.
Trump’s comments on the drug have caused demand to surge in Lagos, CNN noted, which has in turn caused major price hikes.
Kayode Fabunmi, a Lagos-based lawyer, told the network that he saw prices rise 400 percent in his area.
“The pharmacist knew the market and was saying to every incoming customer, ‘You know Donald Trump has said this thing cures coronavirus,’ and the price kept changing,” he told CNN.
Lagos’s state health commissioner, Akin Abayomi, said in a tweet that there is not “hard evidence that chloroquine is effective in preventing or managing COVID-19.”
“We do not have any hard evidence that chloroquine is effective in preventing or managing #COVID19” – @ProfAkinAbayomi@NigeriaGov@followlasg @jidesanwoolu @toluogunlesi @ogundamisi@NCDCgov@Fmohnigeria@NafdacAgency@WHONigeria pic.twitter.com/qtBAsAniTp
— LSMOH (@LSMOH) March 21, 2020
Public health officials have warned Trump’s promotion of the drug, which has not been approved to treat the virus, could both prove ineffective for treatment and lead to insufficient supplies for those using it against malaria and other ailments.
In recent years, Nigeria has largely phased out its use as a front-line antimalarial, CNN noted.
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