The ministry of foreign affairs announced Saturday it would step up efforts to send prescription meds to Cypriots stuck abroad if they cannot find them in the countries where they are.
A statement from the ministry urged Cypriot nationals abroad who need drugs they cannot obtain locally to submit an application requiring assistance either via email at [email protected], or by calling (+357) 22 801000.
All the applications will be reviewed by the ministry of health and, if approved, medicines will be dispatched from Cyprus to the people in need.
Cypriots in the UK can also obtain their medications through the National Health Service (NHS) thanks to a bilateral agreement in force between the two countries.
Meanwhile, the ministry of health said that Chloroquine, a drug widely used for malaria treatments, which has reportedly shown promise in the fight against coronavirus, has yet to be tested and proven effective by the World Health Organisation (WHO) and by the European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control (ECDC).
“Although the drug has been around for many years, it has to undergo clinical trials before we can say it can be used to treat coronavirus,” a spokesperson for the ministry of health told the Cyprus Mail on Saturday.
“For the moment we have no proof of it working for that purpose,” the spokesperson added.
Chloroquine has been approved to treat malaria since 1944.
This week, US President Donald Trump touted the drug as a “tremendous promise” in the fight against covid-19.
There have also been at least three studies demonstrating the drug’s efficacy against the coronavirus. However, the drug is so old to the market, it has become generic and no pharmaceutical company owns the patent.
Companies are currently working on a vaccine which could take at least 18 months, reports say.
Indian doctors reported this week they cured two cases of coronavirus using a cocktail of four drugs including chloroquine.
After the news spread on the internet many Cypriots asked for the drug in pharmacies on Friday but the chairwoman of the Pancyprian pharmaceutical association Eleni Piera said it could only be given out on prescription.
According to reports on Saturday pharmaceutical giant Novartis has pledged a global donation of up to 130 million hydroxychloroquine tablets, pending regulatory approvals.