NVS

FDA: You Can Use Chloroquine to Treat COVID-19; EU Regulators: Not Just Yet

Chloroquine and hydroxychloroquine aren't approved by the Food and Drug Administration to treat COVID-19, the disease caused by the novel coronavirus, but the agency has granted an emergency-use authorization for the drugs, which were originally developed to treat malaria.

In Europe however, regulators are taking more of a wait-and-see approach, suggesting doctors only prescribe the drugs to patients taking them for the diseases they're approved for. Hydroxychloroquine, which is less potent but safer than chloroquine, is also used for autoimmune diseases, such as lupus and rheumatoid arthritis.

"Prescriptions should not be given outside their authorised uses except in the setting of a clinical trial or nationally agreed protocols," the European Medicines Agency said in a statement.

Woman and her doctors behind a caution: outbreak alert sign

Image source: Getty Images.

Data from initial studies of chloroquine and hydroxychloroquin in COVID-19 patients has been somewhat positive, but the studies have been fairly small. A study of hydroxychloroquine plus the antibiotic azithromycin in France only had 20 treated patients in it. A study in China was a little larger with 62 patients, split equally into treatment with hydroxychloroquine or the control group.

By contrast, the University of Minnesota is running a 3,000-patient study of chloroquine. Larger studies will be needed to know for sure whether the drugs are helping patients.

Multiple drugmakers, including Bayer (OTC: BAYRY), Teva Pharmaceutical (NYSE: TEVA), Novartis (NYSE: NVS), Mylan (NASDAQ: MYL) and Amneal Pharmaceuticals (NYSE: AMRX) have committed to donating chloroquine or hydrochloroquine tablets or have announced plans to ramp up production of the drugs.

10 stocks we like better than Teva Pharmaceutical
When investing geniuses David and Tom Gardner have a stock tip, it can pay to listen. After all, the newsletter they have run for over a decade, Motley Fool Stock Advisor, has tripled the market.*

David and Tom just revealed what they believe are the ten best stocks for investors to buy right now... and Teva Pharmaceutical wasn't one of them! That's right -- they think these 10 stocks are even better buys.

See the 10 stocks

 

*Stock Advisor returns as of March 18, 2020

 

Brian Orelli has no position in any of the stocks mentioned. The Motley Fool recommends Mylan. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy.

The views and opinions expressed herein are the views and opinions of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of Nasdaq, Inc.

Tags

More Related Articles

Sign up for Smart Investing to get the latest news, strategies and tips to help you invest smarter.