As a result of growing concerns over the safety of hydroxychloroquine, a major global pharmaceutical Sanofi (NASDAQ: SNY) stopped providing it to COVID-19 patients enrolled in its clinical trials for the drug. It also temporarily halted the recruitment of new research subjects.
Hydroxychloroquine, originally designed to treat malaria, was previously considered a potential treatment for COVID-19, the disease that can result from the SARS-CoV-2 coronavirus. It has received some high-level support, notably from President Donald Trump, who at one point claimed that he took it regularly.
The pharmaceutical giant’s decision follows the World Health Organization’s (WHO) halt of its own clinical trials on hydroxychloroquine and a ban on the use of the drug by several European countries. The source of his concern is a recent article published in the UK medical journal. The Lancet, indicating an increase in death rates from taking the drug.
This document, which is based on an analysis of medical records, is not the only research that has revealed that the drug may not be suitable for COVID-19 patients. Last month, a similar analysis of 368 American veterans also indicated high death rates in patients receiving treatment.
Sanofi has conducted two randomized controlled clinical trials to test the effectiveness of hydroxychloroquine in the fight against COVID-19. One was a multinational study involving 210 patients with an early stage of the disease. These people had not been hospitalized. The other, more significant, involved about 300 people with moderate to severe forms of the disease who had been hospitalized; it was limited to Europe.
Friday, Sanofi shares rose slightly 0.9%, roughly in line with the performance of the stock market in general on the day.