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Canada Warns Against Chloroquine, HCQ Use as Coronavirus Treatment

Pharmacist Amanda Frank reaches for a bottle of Hydroxychloroquine at the Medicine Shoppe in Pennsylvania. (AP)

Pharmacist Amanda Frank reaches for a bottle of Hydroxychloroquine at the Medicine Shoppe in Pennsylvania. (AP)

The European Medicines Agency on Thursday issued a similar warning about the drugs, whose promise as a coronavirus treatment has been touted by US President Donald Trump.

Canadian health authorities have issued a warning against the use of anti-malarial drugs chloroquine and hydroxychloroquine to treat coronavirus infections or prevent reinfections.

"Chloroquine and hydroxychloroquine can have serious side effects. These drugs should be used only under the supervision of a physician," Canada's public health agency said in a note posted Saturday on its website.

"Health Canada is concerned that some people may be directly buying and using chloroquine or hydroxychloroquine to prevent or treat COVID-19," it said, noting they can cause "serious heart rhythm problems."

The European Medicines Agency on Thursday issued a similar warning about the drugs, whose promise as a coronavirus treatment has been touted by US President Donald Trump.