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NDA warns against hoarding drugs in wake of COVID -19

FILE PHOTO: NDA states a section of people in the public have stocked medicines from pharmacies even as it’s recommended that some drugs can only be taken with prescription by medical workers.

Kampala, Uganda | THE INDEPENDENT | The National Drug Authority (NDA) has cautioned the public against hoarding medicines, as the country faces the worst strain of coronavirus. According to NDA, some people stocked medicines from pharmacies, even as it’s recommended that some drugs can only be taken with prescription by medical workers.

NDA Public Relations Officer Fredrick Ssekyana told Uganda Radio Network on Friday morning that among the drugs that customers were buying in big doses is chloroquine which is among the drugs currently being studied in clinical trials as a potential treatment for coronavirus.

Other drugs that are being hoarded include painkillers and coartem, which is used for the treatment of malaria. He warns this is dangerous as it could lead to drug misuse especially if people are resorting to self –prescription which can in the long run lead to drug resistance.

When it comes to chloroquine and it’s more tolerable form of hydroxychloroquine, Ssekyana says they have seen high demand in Uganda recently, a study done in China among 30 patients of COVID -19 showed there were no significant differences in those that were given the drug and those that were not in terms of the time, it took to bring body temperature to normal or the number of patients with disease progression as shown in CT scans.

But, many other studies in different countries including in the United States and Europe on the same drugs are still going on. However, Virologist Prof. Pontiano Kaleebu says that what has been going on around the world even in studies that have given some hope, is that they have been studying small numbers of people.

He said that to establish real efficacy, there needs to be large clinical trials with big samples to determine if the drugs are truly effective. Currently even as COVID-19 continues ravaging the world with 540,832 people testing positive for the disease as of today, there is no drug yet that has been approved for use by the World Health Organization.

For now, clinical management includes infection prevention and control measures and supportive care, including supplementary oxygen and mechanical ventilator support when recommended by the doctor.

In Uganda, 18 positive cases have so far been recorded and all have been enrolled on supportive care according to the Ministry of Health.

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