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Doctors criticise Indian research agency for recommending hydroxychloroquine prophylaxis

01 June 2020

News Desk :
Doctors in India have decried the Indian health research agency's intransigence on its recommendation of hydroxychloroquine prophylaxis against covid-19 to hospital healthcare workers, saying that the agency has breached principles of medical ethics.
The doctors have accused the Indian Council of Medical Research of resisting calls from the medical community for randomised control trials to assess hydroxychloroquine prophylaxis against covid-19 and for relying on weak evidence to justify its recommendation.
In an advisory dated 22 May the council expanded hydroxychloroquine prophylaxis to healthcare workers in hospitals and police personnel deployed on covid-19 duty throughout the country. In March the council had recommended it to frontline healthcare workers treating covid-19 patients and to household contacts of patients.
Existing studies
The advisories recommend two regimens: for healthcare workers and police, 400 mg twice a day on the first day followed by once weekly for seven weeks; and for household contacts, 400 mg twice a day on the first day followed by 400 mg once weekly for three weeks.
In favour of these treatments the council has cited in vitro studies, the safety profile of hydroxychloroquine, and an observational study of healthcare workers in a public hospital in New Delhi that "showed that those on prophylaxis had lower incidence of SARS-CoV-2 infection than those not taking it."1
Balram Bhargava, the council's director general, said this week, "We thought it may be a useful drug for prophylaxis, taking [into account] biological plausibility, in vitro data, and the availability and safety of the drug . . . We looked at the data from observational studies and found that it may be working."  
Source : https://bmj.com/coronavirus/usage

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