Earlier this week, Alberta Premier Jason Kenney told reporters that his government would disregard the Health Canada approvals process for new medications.

Kenney has directed provincial officials to consider the use of products approved by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) in the U.S.

This comes at a time when U.S. President Trump has been pressuring the FDA to prematurely approve drugs for the treatment of COVID-19. One of these drugs is Chloroquine, an anti-malaria medication, which Trump has touted and publicly encouraged.  The President personally intervened and pushed officials to promote this drug.

Chloroquine remains untested as a treatment for COVID-19. A small study which was examining its efficacy and side effects was recently stopped due to risks of fatal heart complications. The deaths of 11 of the 81 test patients prompted researchers to halt the study.

Kenney’s new guidance for COVID-19 drug treatments would mean that drugs like Chloroquine, approved by the FDA, could be used in Alberta prior to proper testing. 

Canada’s health authorities have cautioned against promoting untested treatments, instead choosing to join global efforts to properly test these types of drugs before being widely used. 

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