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Sad as it may be, it should not surprise anyone that hucksters are peddling coronavirus quackery on the Internet related to the treatment of Covid-19. Whether it be through marketing a fake test, medical advice or shoddy personal protective equipment, bad people are trying to profit off this crisis. Recent research shows that rogue websites are selling fake chloroquine phosphate or hydroxychloroquine, taking advantage of the promotion of these antimalarials as possible treatments for the novel coronavirus.

A few weeks back, there were huge spikes in the number of people seeking out these drugs online. We know because of the increased traffic to drug price pages for chloroquine phosphate and hydroxychloroquine on Rogue websites market these drugs without requiring a prescription. When it comes to PharmacyChecker-accredited online pharmacies, consumers cannot just self-prescribe; they must provide a valid prescription.

Independent testing shows that PharmacyChecker-accredited online pharmacies sell authentic chloroquine phosphate and hydroxychloroquine. Tests were done on these drugs ordered from online pharmacies accredited by PharmacyChecker or approved by other widely-accepted verification programs or membership organizations (the National Association of Boards of Pharmacy, LegitScript, and the Canadian International Pharmacy Association), as well as sites with no credentialing. Of the 14 credentialed online pharmacies from which chloroquine phosphate and hydroxychloroquine were purchased, all sold genuine medication, whether procured domestically or internationally. In contrast, 15% of orders from the 29 other sites contained counterfeit drugs.

The online availability of these medications is NOT a reason for people to try and acquire them, whether domestically, from Canada or other countries. Why? Because these medications are not proven to work in fighting Covid-19. In fact, a review of records of 368 patients hospitalized in the U.S. with SARS-CoV-2 infection “found no evidence that use of hydroxychloroquine, either with or without azithromycin, reduced the risk of mechanical ventilation in patients hospitalized with Covid-19. An association of increased overall mortality was identified in patients treated with hydroxychloroquine alone.”

For more on potential treatments and tips for protection against the spread of coronavirus, Ask PharmacyChecker –’s consumer advice and news section – has a regularly-updated post dealing with Covid-19 potential treatment warnings.

Unfortunately, some non-medical professionals at the highest echelons of power, are over-promoting chloroquine phosphate and hydroxychloroquine, among others, as drugs to treat Covid-19. Hopefully, we will find out through proper testing and analysis that they are safe and effective to treat the virus, but, again, they are unproven drugs for this condition! Whether you love or hate President Trump, not only should people not be trying to treat themselves, but in foolishly obtaining them, you exacerbate supply problems for people, such as those with lupus and rheumatoid arthritis, who need these meds to live. If, perhaps, you are one of those people who does not have a prescription for these drugs and wants to get it anyway, don’t.

I believe that medical practitioners should be given a long leash to practice in accordance with their best judgement and in line with their training. If they prescribe or administer experimental treatments for Covid-19, that’s reasonable. Fishing for unproven treatments on the Internet, hell no.

I’m all about online access to safe and affordable medication and safe personal importation, and the consumer empowerment necessary to make that possible. But as we face this most devastating global pandemic, let’s use our heads. Stay away from rogue online pharmacies and unproven treatments related to Covid- 19!

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