Gov’t to probe alleged use of lupus drug to treat COVID-19

THE Ministry of Health and Wellness has promised to investigate a claim by Opposition Spokesperson on Health Dr Morais Guy that the May Pen Hospital has violated the Government’s COVID-19 treatment guidelines by using the drug Hydroxychloroquine to treat treatment for patients with the novel coronavirus.

Dr Guy, speaking at yesterday’s first digital meeting of the special select committee of Parliament on COVID-19, had questioned whether the Government had decided on the use of the drug, which is used to treat lupus and other autoimmune diseases by health care providers for the new coronavirus.

Chief Medical Officer (CMO) Dr Jacquiline Bisasor-McKenzie, in response, said the ministry had made no such recommendation. At the same time, Health and Wellness Minister Dr Christopher Tufton has promised to have the matter investigated.

“… Because of the very high incidence of cardiac-related issues the World Health Organisation (WHO) has not recommended that we put Hydroxychloroquine in present protocols, so we have not,” said the chief medical officer.

Dr Guy, in the meantime, has urged health officials to investigate the matter.

“Can I ask the CMO to look at what is happening at May Pen Hospital because patients have been getting that and you need to have a discussion with your team because you cannot have a situation where the team is acting on its own volition, in terms of trying to do a trial without the approval of the CMO and the ministry,” he said.

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