Turkey removes hydroxychloroquine from official COVID-19 treatment plan

Turkish Health Ministry has removed the controversial anti-malarial drug hydroxychloroquine from its official COVID-19 treatment plan after months-long insistence on using it, the Turkish Medical Association (TTB) announced.

A nurse takes care of a patient suffering from the COVID-19 in this file photo.

Duvar English

The Turkish Health Ministry has removed hydroxychloroquine from its official COVID-19 treatment plan, the Turkish Medical Association (TTB) announced late on May 7.

“Despite its lack of efficiency against the COVID-19, the known side effects and all of the warnings of the TTB, the Health Ministry removed the hydroxychloroquine drug from its guideline only today. We will continue to side with the scientific knowledge and to say the truth,” the TTB said on its Twitter account.

Turkish scientists have been for months now urging the Health Ministry to ban the use of hydroxychloroquine in its COVID-19 treatment plans, as the drug was dismissed by the World Health Organization (WHO) in June 2020 and is said to be "doing more harm than good."

The Turkish Clinical Microbiology and Infectious Diseases Association previously warned that the possible cardiac side effects of the controversial drug could be fatal.

The use of hydroxychloroquine was banned in other countries such as France and trials of the drug were suspended by the World Health Organization (WHO) in May 2020. 

Since coronavirus reached Turkey last year, experts have pointed to the heart-related side effects, the international bans and have said that Turkish doctors are administering the controversial drug primarily out of desperation as healthcare resources have been pushed to their limits.