- The Washington Times - Wednesday, May 27, 2020

France has banned the use of hydroxychloroquine to treat coronavirus and ended studies on its use.

The French High Council for Public Health recommended Wednesday that the health ministry halt the use of the drug in response to a study in a British medical journal last week, CBS News reported.

The French government had agreed in late March to 16 clinical trials of the drug, which had some early anecdotal success against COVID-19, and had allowed doctors to treat seriously ill patients in hospitals with the drug.

All those programs will now cease.

The drug became a public issue after President Trump boosted it in the early days of the pandemic’s spread outside China as a “gamechanger.” More recently, he went on a two-week regimen of hydroxychloroquine with zinc to prevent infection.

The French ban comes several days after The Lancet published an observational study on nearly 100,000 patients worldwide found a higher death rate and an increased rate of irregular heartbeats in patients who were given the anti-malaria drug.

France itself had seen at least four deaths from complications linked to hydroxychloroquine’s side effects and an earlier study released in Nice found 43 cases of heart trouble tied to the drug.

Italy and Belgium also have responded to the Lancet study by banning the drug’s use as a treatment, though clinical trials may continue.

• Victor Morton can be reached at vmorton@washingtontimes.com.

Copyright © 2022 The Washington Times, LLC. Click here for reprint permission.

Please read our comment policy before commenting.

Click to Read More and View Comments

Click to Hide