While high success rates in treating patients tested positive for COVID-19 are achieved in France, using a chloroquine-based treatment, Canadian governmental bodies and professional associations are not taking note of what is happening outside the country and oppose the life-saving treatment.
Nurses, doctors and other employees in medical facilities may be the first to unnecessarily get sick and possibly die from these ill-informed positions.
Here is a brief overview.
Position of the Governmental Institute « INESSS »
« Apart from research protocols, usage (of hydroxchloroquine) should be limited to patients in a severe clinical condition, evaluated on a case by case basis, supported by a multidisciplinary, multi centric committee of experts grouping, at the minimum, expertise in microbiology-infectiology, critical care and pharmacy. »
Original in French: « En dehors d’un protocole de recherche, l’usage devrait être limité à des patients dont la situation clinique est sévère, évaluée au cas par cas, soutenu par un comité interdisciplinaire d’experts multicentrique regroupant minimalement des expertises en microbiologie-infectiologie, soins critiques et pharmacie. »
This position is ill-informed and does not make any sense.
The French research abundantly shows that ONLY EARLY TREATMENT really works. This Québec experts are making a recommendation that goes totally against the current scientific knowledge about the use of hydroxychloroquine for COVID-19.
The INESSS approach also requires huge medical resources, essentially to watch a patient likely die because not treated earlier. It would be a totally inappropriate allocation of medical resources during this health crisis.
A piece of information for the INESSS experts: in Marseille, at the university hospital specialized in infectiology, as of today, they already have treated 1,291 people and only had one death, as of March 30.
If you are not aware of the latest French research, highlighting the absolute need to treat early, read:
Statement on the Use of Hydroxychloroquine and Azithromycin for COVID-19 Prophylaxis by Ontario Pharmacists Association, Ontario Medical Association, Registered Nurses Association of Ontario
The professional associations issued a lengthy joint statement, apparently on March 23.
« At this time, there is a serious lack of evidence that categorically supports the widespread use of hydroxychloroquine and azithromycin » assert the associations.
« Equally important are the significant potential contraindications, adverse effects, and drug interactions with the use of hydroxychloroquine and azithromycin individually or concurrently, particularly the cardiovascular effects that include cardiac arrhythmias and QTc prolongation. »
The associations refer to information in social media, even if they quote scientific studies from outside Canada, not even taken into consideration by the associations, which seem to only trust Canadian based experiments with innocent placebo patients, as anecdotal.
« With the exponential growth in social media messaging regarding these anecdotal reports, pharmacists across Ontario and across the entire country have reported significant growth in the number of prescriptions being issued for one or a combination of these two products. »
Despite not taking into account the mounting scientific evidence, and the highly credible successful results achieved for example in Marseille, France, these professional bodies state:
« with our collective memberships of more than 110,000 strong, Ontario’s doctors, nurses and nurse practitioners and pharmacists, we have an obligation and duty to educate our patients that any treatment – particularly for COVID-19 – needs to be evidence-based. »
Here is an anecdote. Over a month ago, after having published my first article about the pandemic – http://covexit.com/coronavirus-what-is-at-stake-and-how-to-deal-with-it/ – an Ontario doctor wrote to me that I was mistaken, that I was over-pessimistic, and essentially that COVID-19 was just like the flu.
Today, my take is that mortality rates similar to the flu could still be achieved in Canada IF AND ONLY IF a vast campaign of early testing and early chloroquine-based treatment takes place, like they now do in Marseille, and since more recently, other urban centers in France.
And other countries are following the Marseille approach, even if way too late in the case of Italy.
The protocol designed by Professor Raoult from Marseille, the #1 expert in the world in communicable diseases — http://expertscape.com/ex/communicable+diseases — includes testing for any heart conditions with two electrocardiograms during the treatment.
The side effects of hydroxychlorquine / azithromycin are totally exaggerated by these associations. Both drugs have been administered millions of times. In many countries, hydroxychlorquine is, or was until very recently, an over the counter drug.
We are talking also here about a short 10 day treatment, at a moderate dose of 600 mg per day – versus long term treatment, for malaria prevention or for Lupus patients.
Talking about Lupus patients, one of the findings of the Chinese research teams is that Lupus patients, under hydroxychlorquine treatment were apparently not developing the COVID-19 symptoms.
Both drugs are cheap, generic drugs that could technically be made rapidly available to Canadian having tested positive, if the right governmental policies are being implemented.
Industry is prepared to mass produce the drugs, with companies such as Novartis now boosting production.
A sad irony is that these medical associations are not at all serving their members by issuing such anti-chloroquine statement.
Why? Because nurses and doctors will be the ones who will be infected first with the pandemic. Pharmacists are also at high risk.
It’s extremely difficult to avoid infection when you work day and night in an infected environment.
Many doctors and nurses will be infected. Will they also reject chloroquine-based treatment and risk their lives, because they fear some form of side-effect?
There is a strong argument in fact for medical professionals to take hydroxychloroquine in a prophylactic manner, for example 200 mg per day, which is the typical dosage for malaria prevention.
If you want to learn more about the prophylactic usage of hydroxychloroquine, and its usage for outpatients, learn about the amazing work of Dr Vladimir Zelenko out of New York in this interview.
Final note. What is found in France is that early chloroquine-based early treatment allows for patients not to require going to the emergency room, and allows for an early discharge, after about 5 to 7 days.
On the other hand, no treatment means much longer hospitalization and much higher likelihood to require emergency room treatment.
This is extremely painful, long and the odds of death become then much much higher.
So, a critical advantage of the French approach is that, by treating early, one avoids to overburden hospitals and health facilities.
We are hearing all the time about the need to « flatten the curve » by social distancing, lockouts etc. to avoid overburdening hospitals and other health facilities.
Early testing of all people showing symptoms, and early chloroquine-based treatment, would be even more effective in avoiding over-burdening medical facilities and keeping the emergency rooms available only for those cases that were not successfully cured via a chloroquine-based treatment.
The alternative is triage and unnecessary deaths.
College of Pharmacists of BC, College of Physicians and Surgeons of BC, and BC College of Nursing Professionals
These BC professional organizations issued a statement, and are rightly worried about shortages of hydroxychloroquine.
Yet they dismiss the efficacy of hydroxychloroquine.
“Although all British Columbians are hopeful a cure or treatment can be found quickly, it is critical to note that at this time, a proven treatment for COVID-19 does not exist.”
This is clearly not taking into account the available science published in France and showing clearly that early treatment with the hydroxychlorquine / azithromycin combination works, saves lives, and considerably helps in avoiding overburdening the medical system.
The statement continues: “More British Columbians will become infected and tragically, more may die from this virus.”
Of course, if British Columbians are denied effective treatment, many will die.
Numerous deaths as well as for life pulmonary impairments are however avoidable if the provincial government would implement right away early chloroquine-based treatment for all those testing positive.
Not All Doctors Seem to Agree Anyway
In BC, and eleswhere, maybe some medical doctors may disagree with the official positions of their professional bodies.
Actually, doctors seem to be among the first to try go get hold of the drugs for themselves and their families, even if they may face sanctions.
Why would they seek that drug if it is as ineffective as claimed by all these associations?
Maybe they heard about the interview of Dr Anthony Fauci, the coronavirus “Tsar” in the US, who officially pushes against hydroxychloroquine, but … who admitted he would prescribe it.
Cynicism is obviously not really helpful. So let me conclude this way:
It’s high time for Canada and its provinces to make early treatment a priority. It’s abundantly clear. It’s time for the authorities to wake up to that reality.