On Monday the health care company Banner Health announced that a man had died and that his wife was currently in critical condition after the couple took aquarium cleaner that they believed contained an anti-malaria drug that was touted by Donald Trump as a cure to the coronavirus without a doctor’s prescription.
Banner Health is now urging Americans not to take any drug unless it is prescribed to them in response to the coronavirus pandemic, which has caused hundreds of thousands to be infected across the globe.
The drug touted by Trump, hydroxychloroquine, is available in tablet form and is often used as a cleaning chemical.
“A man has died and his wife is under critical care after the couple, both in their 60s, ingested chloroquine phosphate, an additive commonly used at aquariums to clean fish tanks. Within thirty minutes of ingestion, the couple experienced immediate effects requiring admittance to a nearby Banner Health hospital,” the statement read.
“Most patients who become infected with COVID-19 will only require symptomatic care and self-isolation to prevent the risk of infecting others. Check first with a primary care physician. The routine use of specific treatments, including medications described as ‘anti-COVID-19’, is not recommended for non-hospitalized patients, including the anti-malarial drug chloroquine,” the statement added.
Banner Health was not clear in their statement if the couple had been diagnosed with COVID-19 or if they took the aquarium cleaner believing that it was preventative.
Earlier this week Trump used Twitter to tout the use of chloroquine as an effective treatment for severe coronavirus cases over the weekend. He urged the Food and Drug Administration to begin using it against the coronavirus “immediately.”
“HYDROXYCHLOROQUINE & AZITHROMYCIN, taken together, have a real chance to be one of the biggest game-changers in the history of medicine. The FDA has moved mountains – Thank You! Hopefully, they will BOTH (H works better with A, International Journal of Antimicrobial Agents) be put in use IMMEDIATELY. PEOPLE ARE DYING, MOVE FAST, and GOD BLESS EVERYONE!” he tweeted.
“I saw it sitting on the back shelf and thought, ‘Hey, isn’t that the stuff they’re talking about on TV?’ ” the wife, told NBC News. “We were afraid of getting sick.” The couple poured the fish tank cleaning chemical, chloroquine phosphate, into soda and drank it.