Co-Written by Dr. P. S. Sahni & Shobha Aggarwal


In recent weeks the Indian Government has – in a seeming show of altruism – been gifting the drug Hydroxychloroquine (HCQ) to a number of countries ostensibly to be used as a prophylactic measure by health care professionals managing n-coronavirus patients. Those countries have – through return post/email – duly acknowledged the help. Almost at the speed of light both these acts – of HCQ being gifted and the benevolence being acknowledged by the recipient country with thanks – have been instantly and duly broadcasted several times a day by the state-controlled All India Radio. The blitzkrieg of publicity is repeated every time a new country is chosen to be extended the largesse. So far so good, perhaps – but just perhaps.

Surely the Indian health authorities are not oblivious to the scandalous developments – bordering on criminality – worldwide. In at least four continents HCQ is being used as a treatment drug for COVID-19 patients without a shred of evidence as to its usefulness. Why does the Indian Government assume that the drug supplied would not be misused by these 55 countries?

Infection with n-coronavirus adversely affects the lungs, heart, kidney, brain, skin; it is also seen to be causing clotting of blood. Thus a patient with n-coronavirus infection gets his/her heart bombarded through three ways – through the infection itself; through the side-effects of HCQ; and any other pre-existing heart problem.

The Guardian, in its International Edition dated 27 March, 2020 reported:

“Popular pressure for access to the drug has been ramped up by pronouncements from presidents Donald Trump in the US and Jair Bolsonaro in Brazil, both of whom have claimed it is a cure. An Australian businessman, the former politician Clive Palmer, has pledged to fund 1m doses “to ensure all Australians would have access to the drug as soon as possible”.”

The report also stated:

“One small trial in China … was far from sufficient to show that it works.”

The Guardian also informed:

“… the French government … decreed that hospitals could prescribe it for any Covid-19 patient…

That Italy has followed suit. The government announced … that chloroquine and hydroxychloroquine could be used to treat all Covid-19 patients and paid for entirely by the Italian national healthcare system.” (emphasis provided)

Meanwhile the National Institutes of Health (USA) declared on April 9, 2020:

“Many U.S. hospitals are currently using hydroxychloroquine as first-line therapy for hospitalized patients with COVID-19 despite extremely limited clinical data supporting its effectiveness,” (emphasis provided)

It mentioned that a clinical trial to evaluate the safety and effectiveness of HCQ for the treatment of adults hospitalized with coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) has begun.

In India many healthcare workers who took HCQ reported side-effects like pain in the abdomen; nausea; and hypo-glycaemia (low blood sugar). This got revealed during a study conducted by the Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR). This premier medical research institute is examining the side-effects and efficacy of HCQ as a prophylactic treatment. [The Times of India (ToI), 19.04.2020]

As if any more evidence was needed a report in the ToI dated 23 April, 2020 warned:

“a U.S. government funded analysis of how military veterans fared on hydroxychloroquine posted on a medical pre-print site on Tuesday found the drug had no benefit against COVID-19, and was associated with more deaths.”

In gross violation of ICMR guidelines right in the heart of Mumbai, the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation had earlier decided to give HCQ as a preventive medication to around a 100,000 people living in the city’s slums, Dharavi and Worli (COVID-19 hotspots). Later this decision was reversed – and rightly so. (ToI, 16.04.2020). If even within India HCQ was getting misused, one can imagine how the gifted medicine would get misused in the 55 countries which are recipient of the drug.

Politicians in USA, Europe, Australia and India have wittingly or otherwise drummed up a campaign for use of HCQ – which has now resulted in patients in ICUs being administered the drug as a first line therapy. This has resulted in deaths. Wisdom dictates that HCQ be recalled by India from all the 55 countries.

[Dr. P. S. Sahni & Shobha Aggarwal are independent medico-legal researchers and members of ABVA. Email:]



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  1. Sally Dugman says:

    All that I can think is good luck in tracking down to where the drug has been distributed around the world — the amount not yet used. Who is to pay for the return of the drug to India?

  2. Dr. P. S. Sahni says:

    Indian politicians will continue distributing HCQ and adopt an ostrich like attitude!

  3. I have been on this medication now for 4 years to assist with an auto immune disease. I take 200mg am and pm. Once a year I have an eye exam as this drug can in some cases cause vision damage. I have tested fine so far.
    The singular issue with this drug is that Trump endorsed it, which set the clownish mainstream press dead set against it. There are trials in this country, Italy and France that confirm this drug can help.

    • Dr. P. S. Sahni says:

      We are sorry if an impression got conveyed that we are against HCQ per se. HCQ is useful in malaria, SLE (Systemic lupus erythematosus) & other conditions when administered under medical supervision. An eye specialist checks for any retinopathy at regular intervals.
      We understand that many patients would agree to any drug – tested or untested – when their life is at risk e.g. COVID-19 patients with severe pneumonia in ICU may have family members agree for its administration.
      We are also aware that MNCs manufacturing costly drugs would endorse that HCQ be not used for COVID-19.
      Lastly in many countries (e.g. U.K.) patients with auto-immune disease are finding it difficult to procure this drug as it has been “siphoned off.”
      Could you, please share the citations of research published which buttress your opinion? Thanks.

  4. SBS Reddy says:

    The author is unprofessional. . Hydroxychloroquine works best when used in early stages of infection. He should start reading scientific literature not anti trump news media. It is a known fact that Corona virus attacks hemoglobin and detached iron from hemoglobin. Thereafter oxygen carrying capacity of blood is greatly reduced as a result. Hydroxychloroquine is only drug where it prevents multiplication of virus in cells due to alteration of cell level PH.

    • not the only one.
      and a french study demonstrate that its not so effective, even when got before first symptoms.
      people seeing their cases degraded took the medication 1 to 2 days earlier than the group with good outcome (while we expect the opposite, sooner = better, in the study sooner = worst).
      also, its even less effective on old persons.
      this confirms the trend: the viral strength doesn’t impact the illness. so reducing the viral strength has a low chance to reduces the illness and death rate.

      finally they start counting death related to cardiac issues. in 2 cities they analyzed 215 suspicious side effects cases. 8 death caused by the HCQ, 8 recovered from cardiac issue (shock required)

    • Dr. P. S. Sahni & Shobha Aggarwal says:

      Dear SBS Reddy,
      We are not contended or constrained with just being mere professionals. We are citizens first and the Indian Constitution confers rights and duties upon us; one of the duties is to develop a spirit of enquiry and reform. The article was written in that spirit.
      If you have any reading material by way of citations – articles published in reputed medical journals – which details clinical trials using HCQ in COVID-19 infections both as preventive and curative medicine, kindly share it with readers /authors of CC.
      If future research proves efficacy of HCQ in COVID-19 we will endorse it.