Health Ministry admits controversial “Covid kit” is ineffective

Health Ministry Covid kit ineffective
Box of hydroxychloroquine tablets. Photo: Gary L Hider/Shutterstock

In documents sent to the Senate’s Covid hearings committee, the Brazilian Health Ministry admitted what many experts and the scientific community have affirmed for months: the government’s so-called “Covid kit” — consisting of a cocktail of drugs touted by President Jair Bolsonaro — is ineffective in treating Covid-19.

The Health Ministry told senators that medicines such as antimalarial drug chloroquine and antibiotic azithromycin “did not show clinical benefits in hospitalized patients and should not be used” against Covid-19.

The lack of evidence regarding these one-size-fits-all treatments raised concerns over potential side effects which could worsen the condition of some users. With Mr. Bolsonaro as their poster child, the prices of these drugs skyrocketed — and they vanished from pharmacy shelves due to a surge in demand driven by the president’s supporters. Chloroquine, as an example, is a crucial drug used to treat malaria, lupus, and rheumatoid arthritis.