Brazil’s medicine council sued for allowing chloroquine use

chloroquine cfm
Doctor Nise Yamaguchi, one of Brazil’s most vocal chloroquine defenders. Photo: FP

Brazil’s Public Defender’s Office filed a lawsuit for collective damages against the Federal Council of Medicine (CFM), due its approval of a legal opinion allowing the use of chloroquine and hydroxychloroquine in Covid-19 patients in April last year. The petition, filed last Friday, refers to a report that proposed considering the use of these drugs — which had not yet been proven to be effective against the disease — on patients with mild to critical symptoms.

Public defenders state that one day before ratifying the opinion, the board of medicine published a recommendation for the immediate suspension of guidelines on “early treatment” for patients with coronavirus.

Even though the manufacturers of chloroquine and hydroxychloroquine do not recommend their use on Covid-19 patients, the CFM said it would not change its stance on the matter, claiming that the document in question merely underlined doctor and patient autonomy in selecting treatment. 

The Public Defender’s Office believes the CFM contributed to the aggravation of the health crisis in the country and, therefore, asked that the legal opinion be suspended. In addition, the plaintiffs demand the CFM instructs the general population on the inefficacy of chloroquine and hydroxychloroquine in treating Covid-19. 

Moreover, the petition also states that the council should be forced to pay no less than BRL 60 million (USD 11 million) in damages to family members of patients who died or had long-term effects as a result of chloroquine and hydroxychloroquine use, as well as paying for the treatment of those patients who are still alive.

“There is no doubt that the erratic actions and omissions of the Federal Council of Medicine contributed decisively to a sociocultural framework of reducing the severity of the pandemic, the normalization of infections and deaths, and dissemination of miraculous early treatments to fight the pandemic, which discouraged a portion of the population from adopting effective measures,” states the Public Defender’s Office.