JAKARTA (Reuters) – Indonesia will continue to prescribe two antimalarial drugs to patients with coronavirus, but will monitor their use closely, spokesman for the Indonesia COVID-19 task force said on Thursday after certain European countries banned the drug for safety reasons.
The fourth most populous nation in the world recommends since the end of March that chloroquine and its derivative, hydroxychloroquine, be widely administered, including to patients with coronavirus presenting moderate to severe symptoms, according to the guidelines of the Food and Drug Monitoring Agency.
The World Health Organization (WHO) announced this week that it is temporarily suspending its global trial Solidarity, which is testing hydroxychloroquine in more than 30 countries, including Indonesia.
In a notice sent by WHO to the Indonesian ministry of health and to the association of pulmonologists, which was examined by Reuters, the world health organization declared that the use of the drugs should be suspended “to treat all COVID-19 patient outside the trial ”.
Wiku Adismasmito, of Indonesia’s COVID-19 national task force, said that Indonesia would follow advice on the trial, but would continue to use it generally under strict supervision.
“According to the Ministry of Health, the patient care guidelines published by the five medical professions continuously assess the use of this drug, with smaller doses and a shorter duration of administration,” he said. declared.
Indonesia, he said, will await further advice from WHO on drug safety, expected in mid-June.
After some initial optimism about unproven drugs, Indonesia has stepped up local production of antimalarials.
President Donald Trump has been a strong proponent of hydroxychloroquine, describing it as a “game changer”. He then announced that he was taking it to prevent infection.
In recent months, clinical trials in France, Brazil and the United States have indicated that the drugs carry an increased risk of heart rhythm disorders and death.
The French, Belgian and Italian governments decided to ban the drugs on Wednesday after a second global clinical trial led by the University of Oxford, which is expected to involve 40,000 healthcare workers, was also suspended.
(Report by Kate Lamb in Sydney; Editing by Nick Macfie)