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ICMR and Health Ministry Again Recommend Unproven Anti-malaria Drug Hydroxychloroquine (HCQ) For COVID-19 Treatment, Remain Silent About Actual Number of Dead: PBT Sends Notice, Plans to Move Court Again

The Washington Post, world-renowned newspaper from USA, carried a report this week entitled,”In an Indian city, obituaries reveal missing coronavirus deaths and untold suffering” describing the horrific status of COVID-19 situation in India. The report provides compelling evidence showing that government authorities in different states have been involved with grossly suppressing the number of people dying since April following the second wave of COVID-19. On the other hand, experts from ICMR and AIIMS on the “National Task Force” have issued a new “Clinical Guidance” on 22nd April, 2021 in which they have recommended that doctors may use HCQ in home-bound COVID-19 patients despite almost all the clinical studies have concluded that HCQ has no positive in combating coronavirus infection and when used along with antibiotic Azithromycin (a combination routinely used by doctors in India and ICMR also recommended this combination previously), it can cause “significant increase in mortality” in COVID-19 patients. Developed countries including USA and UK have long rejected any idea for using HCQ in COVID-19.

PBT moved a PIL in the Apex Court against the ICMR last year soon after COVID-19 pandemic started and Indian medical authorities started touting off-label use of HCQ to fight COVID-19 without supporting scientific evidence. Along with the Modi government, only other government that also went on a frenzied promotion of HCQ in COVID-19 patients was then US president, Donald Trump. The Apex Court disposed of PBT’s PIL with specific direction that ICMR should consider our contentions of unscientific use of HCQ in COVID-19 which was based on world-wide opinions from reputed medical bodies including American Heart Association that issued strong warning that HCQ may bring sudden death in COVID-19 patients with pre-existing heart condition. PBT has sent a notice to ICMR and MOHFW today asking them to explain why they are recommending use of HCQ again and also to declare the actual number of people died from COVID-19 since the beginning of April, 2021. PBT’s notice also stated that if ICMR/MOHFW continue to remain silent, PBT will move the court once again for the ends of justice.

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