KAMPALA – The Pharmaceutical Society of Uganda (PSU) has ordered pharmacies to stop any further sale of chloroquine without a prescription with immediate effect amid concerns that some members of the public are stocking the drug to treat coronavirus.
In a statement issued on Tuesday, March 24, 2020, PSU President Ogwang Patrick Engeu and his Secretary Opio Samuel warned the public against rushing to stock chloroquine tablets, insisting that there is no known, effective cure against coronavirus (COVID-19).
“It has come to the attention of the Council of the Pharmaceutical society of Uganda of panic buying by members of the public from Pharmacies of Chloroquine tablets for purported use in the management of COVID-19m,” the statement reads in part.
However, they said chloroquine is a prescription-only drug and therefore can only be issued through a prescription by a qualified medical practitioner.
“Its irresponsible use can cause a number of serious adverse effects including blurred vision which may lead to irreversible blindness,” the statement reads in part.
“Panic buying and hoarding also implies that shortages can arise and render it inaccessible by those patients who currently need it for various conditions. All pharmacies are therefore ordered to stop any further sale of chloroquine without a prescription with immediate effect. Pharmacies found doing so will have their pharmacists face the ethics committee and risk suspension. The public is hereby asked to remain calm as scientific data on chloroquine and other drugs for potential use in COVID-19 are evaluated. Per rnedicatum servium (with medicines we serve).”
PSU said the management of Coronavirus is currently done through symptomatic treatment and that there are ongoing vaccine trials at various levels on a possible COVID-19 vaccine expected to be completed within 12 to 18 months. “A number of drug trials have also been ongoing in different countries on possible use of Chloroquine and combinations of hydroxychloroquine and azithromycin among others for management of coronavirus infection,” the statement states.