At least, three people have been hospitalized in Nigeria for what health officials say is chloroquine poisoning after US President Donald Trump boasted that the drug was promising in the fight against COVID-19.
Multiple reports from Nigeria as well as in international media say that the anti-malaria drug had become widely trusted among Nigerians to treat the coronavirus after Trump’s statement last week.
But CNN says that three people were hospitalized on Sunday in Lagos for overdosing on chloroquine. Nigeria’s health officials had to respond with a statement calling on citizens to disregard Trump’s endorsement.
The country’s Center for Disease Control tweeted: “[The World Health Orgniazation] has NOT approved the use of chloroquine for #COVID19 management. Scientists are working hard to confirm the safety of several drugs for this disease.”
On Saturday, Trump himself took to Twitter to double down on his chloroquine conspiracy.
“HYDROXYCHLOROQUINE & AZITHROMYCIN, taken together, have a real chance to be one of the biggest game changers in the history of medicine. The FDA has moved mountains – Thank You!,” the US president tweeted.
Residents of Nigeria’s two biggest cities, Lagos and Abuja, were in a mad rush for chloroquine after Trump first suggested that the anti-malaria drug could be used to treat the novel coronavirus.
Following his announcement at a press conference on Thursday, drug stores across the cities were besieged by local folks to acquire the drug.
Trump said the drug had gone through the approval process despite FDA Commissioner Steven Hahn stating categorically that he is still looking at data around numerous drugs to determine if they can be used to treat COVID-19.