Paris: French pharma major Sanofi said on Friday it has decided to donate 100 million doses of hydroxychloroquine, the anti-malaria drug which could be a potential weapon against novel coronavirus, across 50 countries.
The company has already doubled its incremental production capacity on top of the usual production for current indications across its eight hydroxychloroquine manufacturing sites worldwide and is on track to quadruple it by the summer.
“In this global health emergency, Sanofi stands ready to assist as many countries as possible, starting with countries where its medicine is registered for current approved indications as well as countries where there are no hydroxychloroquine suppliers or countries with underserved populations,” it said in a statement.
Sanofi called for coordination among the entire hydroxychloroquine chain worldwide to ensure the continued supply of the medicine if proven to be a well-tolerated and effective treatment in COVID-19 patients.
Also read: No shortage of HCQ tablets in country: HM
“The COVID-19 pandemic is an unprecedented health and economic crisis which is shaking some of the very fundamentals of international solidarity and cooperation among countries,” said Chief Executive Officer Paul Hudson. “This virus does not care about the concept of borders, so we should not either,” he added.
“It is critical that international authorities, local governments, manufacturers and all other players involved in the hydroxychloroquine chain work together in a coordinated manner to ensure all patients who may benefit from this potential treatment can access it. If the trials prove positive, we hope our donation will play a critical role for patients,” said Hudson.
While hydroxychloroquine is generating a lot of hope for patients around the world, said Sanofi, it should be remembered that there are no results from ongoing studies and the results may be positive or negative.
To date, there is insufficient clinical evidence to draw any conclusion over the safety and efficacy of hydroxychloroquine in the management of COVID-19 patients.
It is one of several medicines being investigated by the World Health Organisation (WHO) in its international clinical trial seeking a treatment solution for COVID-19. “Sanofi is supporting ongoing trials by providing the medicine to some participating investigator sites and other independent research centres,” it said.