Hydroxychloroquine for health workers and contacts of COVID-19 cases; not for everyone: ICMR

New Delhi: The drug Hydroxychloroquine is only being given to doctors and contacts of lab confirmed COVID-19 cases, senior scientist at ICMR Raman R Gangakhedkar said on Tuesday stressing that it is not to be taken by everyone.

Hydroxychloroquine has been described as an essential drug by Health Ministry to meet the requirements of any emergency arising due to COVID-19 pandemic and its sale and distribution have been restricted.

When asked about ICMR's official position on use of Hydroxychloroquine amid various contradicting reports about it, Gangakhedkar, Head of Epidemiology and Communicable diseases at the medical research body, said the organisation has repeatedly conveyed that it is not recommended to be used by everyone.

We have repeatedly said it is not to be used by everyone. It is being given to doctors and contacts of lab confirmed cases. When their data will be complied only then a call can be taken whether it should be recommended to everyone (who is at risk), he said.

ICMR has already recommended the use of hydroxychloroquine as a preventive medication for healthcare workers involved in the care of suspected or confirmed cases of COVID-19 and also asymptomatic household contacts of laboratory confirmed cases.

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