FAA says pilots taking hydroxychloroquine to prevent COVID-19 infection should not fly

Posted at 2:21 PM, Apr 15, 2020

FAA says pilots should not fly if they are taking chloroquine or hydroxychloroquine to prevent COVID-19 infection and says they should remain grounded for two days after their last dose, according to CNN and Business Insider.

Chloroquine and hydroxychloroquine have been touted by President Donald Trump as potential treatments for the coronavirus. While some studies with small sample sizes have shown that the drug has been, effective in treating the virus, other studies have shown the drug has been ineffective and, in some cases, presented dangerous side effects.

"Use of chloroquine or hydroxychloroquine to prevent coronavirus infection is disqualifying while on the medication and for 48 hours after the last dose before reporting for flight or other safety related duties," the directive from the director of the Medical Specialties Division Dr. Penny Giovanetti reads, according to CNN.

"Exercise of social distancing and hand washing represent a far more effective means of prevention. As information changes, we will update our policy based on the best scientific evidence available to us."

The FAA said in a statement to CNN that it often takes a conservative approach in reviewing medications. The agency says that pilots are permitted to take small doses of the drug when used to treat arthritis, given they pass an eye exam and other criteria.