COVID-19: FDA issues warning after death of man who ingested fish product

Published on March 24, 2020
COVID-19 Infection Map - March 23, 2020

For up-to-date information regarding COVID-19, visit avma.org/Coronavirus.

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) issued a consumer alert Tuesday warning people away from buying products that claim to prevent, treat, or cure COVID-19. The warning followed the death of an Arizona man who ingested chloroquine phosphate intended for fish. 

There are currently no FDA-approved products to treat COVID-19, and no immunization is available. Please advise veterinary clients not to self-medicate with drugs purchased on-line, or in fish or pet stores, that are not approved by FDA for use in humans.

The FDA advisory warns consumers, “Don’t take any form of chloroquine unless it has been prescribed for you by your health care provider and obtained from legitimate sources.”

The FDA also said it had sent warning letters to seven companies for selling fraudulent products claiming to treat or prevent COVID-19. 

Although chloroquine is approved by FDA for malaria in humans, and has recently been mentioned in research studies, the product in FDA’s alert was not FDA-approved.

The alert also said the FDA has seen unauthorized, fraudulent test kits for COVID-19 being sold online. The FDA has not authorized any COVID-19 test for at-home use. The only way to be tested for COVID-19 is by contacting your health care provider.

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