Nigeria: COVID-19 - Lagos Hospitals Treat People Suffering Chloroquine Poisoning - Official

Some hospitals in Lagos State are receiving patients suffering from chloroquine poisoning in their quest to fight coronavirus, the senior special assistant on health to Governor Babajide Sanwo-Olu, Oreoluwa Finnih, has said.

Ms Finnih, in a Twitter post Friday evening, said there had been reports about massive consumption of chloroquine as a measure to fight coronavirus in Lagos hospitals.

She tweeted:

Coronavirus: Lagosians urged against massive consumption of Chloroquine

Hospitals across Lagos State have started receiving patients suffering from Chloroquine poisoning. #LASG #FORAGREATERLAGOS pic.twitter.com/8nSpayjAUi

- Oreoluwa (@Oreoluwa_Finnih) March 20, 2020

She described how the massive consumption of chloroquine--as a measure to fight Coronavirus--was caused by the circulation of unverified information.

"There is a lot of unverified information in circulation about the pandemic, and that it was important for people to be sure of their facts before taking any medication," she said.

The upsurge in demand for chloroquine intensified on Thursday after the United States President, Donald Trump, approved its usage for treatment of coronavirus in the U.S.

However, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) a federal agency of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, countered Mr Trump's approval of the use of chloroquine to treat the dreaded coronavirus.

The commissioner of the FDA, Stephen Hahn, contradicted the president, saying chloroquine "was undergoing clinical testing in order to gauge its effectiveness."

"We want to do that in a setting of a clinical trial," Mr Hahn said, according to CNN. "I have great hope for how we are going to come out of this situation. What's also important is not to provide false hope."

Caution

In a phone interview with PREMIUM TIMES on Saturday morning, Mrs Finnih lamented the 'pathetic' situation.

When asked to give a detailed number of the drug poisoning cases recorded so far, she told PREMIUM TIMES that she had "no detailed record at hand."

"I don't have it," she said.

In another phone interview with PREMIUM TIMES, Mr Sanwo-olu's chief press secretary, Gboyega Akosile, also said he had no details to give at the time.

"What matters most is that people should stop using chloroquine to fight the virus," he added.

He said the government was on top of the situation.

"We are looking into the matter, I can assure you," he told PREMIUM TIMES.

Mr Akosile, however, warned against the high in-take of the drug that is yet to be approved by the right authorities in Nigeria.

While the National Agency for Food and Drug Administration and Control (NAFDAC) on Friday, approved the production of Chloroquine for clinical trials in tackling COVID-19, the agency warned Nigerians against using it for the treatment of the disease.

"NAFDAC is not approving Chloroquine as a product that has can be used for Coronavirus because there is no submission to us for registration but because it is under clinical trials, NAFDAC approves medicines meant for clinical trials," the Director-General, NAFDAC, Mojisola Adeyeye told journalists in Lagos.

Also, Minister of State for Health, Olorunnimbe Mamora, said there is no certain acceptable drug in the treatment of the new disease as lots of clinical trials are still ongoing.

Despite the 25 per cent success recorded during the drug testing in France, the World Health Organisation (WHO) is yet to make a statement about the place of chloroquine or its effectiveness in the treatment of the disease.

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