The French health ministry is banning the use of hydroxychloroquine as a cure to coronavirus, according to a decree published Wednesday morning.
“Whether [in doctors offices] in the cities or in the hospital, this … should not be prescribed for patients with COVID-19,” the ministry said in a statement.
On Tuesday, the country’s public health agency advised against using hydroxychloroquine outside of clinical trials. Shortly after that, the national medicines regulator suspended its use in clinical trials.
The moves follow the Lancet’s publication on Friday of a large observational study casting doubt on the benefit of hydroxychloroquine and another malaria drug, chloroquine, for Covid-19 patients. It also found an increased risk of heart problems and death.
Health Minister Olivier Véran had asked the National Council for Public Health over the weekend to consider whether he should revise France’s emergency use authorization to prescribe hydroxychloroquine to hospitalized Covid-19 patients.
For its part, the World Health Organization announced Monday that it’s temporarily halting the hydroxychloroquine part of its global Solidarity trial amid a safety review.