The Jakarta Globe reports that the Indonesian Food and Drug Administration (BPOM) has formally banned chloroquine phosphate and hydroxychloroquine to treat COVID-19 patients.
The BPOM has concluded that the two drugs increase the risk of side effects, including heart dysrhythmia. Before banning the use of the two drugs, BPOM undertook a four-month study involving 213 patients at seven Indonesian hospitals in which 28.2% of the 213 patients receiving chloroquine phosphate and hydroxychloroquine exhibited adverse effects.
On Thursday, the Food and Drug Control Agency (BPOM) said that it had concluded a four-month study in seven hospitals in Indonesia. Of the 213 patients who received chloroquine phosphate and hydroxychloroquine, 28.2% showed heart rhythm anomalies.
BPOM Chief Penny Lukito told the State News Agency Antara, “drugs containing hydroxychloroquine and chloroquine should no longer be used in the treatment of Covid-19.”
The BPOM ban on hydroxychloroquine and chloroquine does not prohibit their continued use in malaria treatment in Indonesia.
Despite US President Donald Trump’s spirited promotion of hydroxychloroquine and chloroquine in the treatment of COVID-19, the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) revoked these drugs for emergency treatment of COVID-19. US authorities declared their use “unlikely to be effective in treating Covid-19” and, because of the risk of “cardiac adverse effects,” the benefit of continued use of these medications for coronavirus “no longer outweigh the known and potential risks for the authorized use.”
The World Health Organization (WHO) does not recommend the use of these drugs in treating COVID-19.
The Indonesian ban represents a significant reversal in how Indonesia treats COVID-19. In the early days of the Global Pandemic in March 2019, the Indonesian government, in an anticipative step, ordered 3 million doses of chloroquine phosphate and hydroxychloroquine sulfate to treat the virus.
By the middle of November 2020, Indonesia has recorded more than 483,000 COVID-19 cases and 15,600 deaths linked to the Pandemic.