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Concept.png Hydroxychloroquine 
A generic drug used to alleviate the symptoms of severe COVID-19 cases, with potential to significantly reduce the disease's case fatality rate.

Hydroxychloroquine is a drug on the WHO's List of Essential Medicines, the safest and most effective medicines needed in a health system. In 2017, it was the 128th most commonly prescribed medication in the US with more than five million prescriptions.


Hydroxychloroquine has been widely used worldwide to treat COVID-19[1] and has been found to significantly lower the disease's case fatality rate.[2]


Hydroxychloroquine has more than five million prescriptions per year.[citation needed] After it emerged as a possible treatment for COVID-19, concerns were raised about its safety.[By whom?] The Lancet published a paper suggesting it had heavy side effects, then withdrew it after it was discovered to have been published by a shell company. The RECOVERY study in the UK also suggested it was dangerous, but involved very high doses that exceeded its dose for other illnesses.[3]

Legal status

In a 23 March 2020 executive order, the Governor of New York, Andrew Cuomo, barred pharmacists from filling prescriptions for chloroquine or hydroxychloroquine as part of clinical trials for COVID-19. In early April 2020 Anthony Fauci opposed the use of either drug as a treatment for severe cases of COVID-19, instead recommending the experimental (and considerably more expensive) remdesivir.[4]


In June 2020 the Association of American Physicians and Surgeons filed a lawsuit against Department of Health and Human Services and the FDA for their “irrational interference” to hydroxychloroquine for treatment of patients.[1]