Brazil’s Hapvida admits to prescribing ineffective medicine to COVID patients

SAO PAULO (Reuters) – Brazilian healthcare company Hapvida Participacoes said in a securities filing late on Sunday it has prescribed hydroxycloroquine to COVID patients.

Hapvida admitted prescribing hydroxycloroquine in the early days of the health crisis when it still believed it could benefit patients. But it said those prescriptions never corresponded to the “majority” of drugs it prescribed.

The company added it is no longer prescribing the drug.

Local media have reported doctors in the northeastern state of Ceara alleging the company forced the prescription of ineffective drugs for COVID patients such as hydroxycloroquine.

A Brazilian congressional investigation has been probing Prevent Senior, a privately owned health insurance company, for allegedly prescribing ineffective drugs and delaying ICU admissions during the pandemic.

Hapvida said it has opened 1,000 ICU beds, hired 6,000 health professionals and expanded its hospital network during the pandemic.

(Reporting by Tatiana Bautzer; editing by Jason Neely)

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