The French government on Wednesday cancelled a decree allowing hospital doctors to administer hydroxychloroquine as a treatment to patients suffering severe forms of COVID-19.
The cancellation was announced in the government’s official bulletin and confirmed by a statement by the health ministry.
The cancellation of the decree, which takes immediate effect, now renders the drug banned for such use in the treatment of severe coronavirus cases.
According to reports the move, is the first by a country since the World Health Organisation said on Monday it was pausing a large trial of the malaria drug on COVID-19 patients due to safety concerns.
Reuters reports that France decided at the end of March to allow the use of hydroxychloroquine, which in addition to malaria is approved for treating lupus and rheumatoid arthritis, in specific situations and in hospitals only for treating COVID-19 patients.
However, British medical journal The Lancet has reported that patients getting hydroxychloroquine had increased death rates and irregular heartbeats, adding to a series of other disappointing results for the drug as a way to treat COVID-19.