Pilots are prohibited within two days of flying from experimenting with two yet unproven medications to prevent coronavirus infection, the Federal Aviation Administration has determined.
“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,” a new FAA directive says.
The FAA said in a statement to CNN that it “takes a conservative approach” in reviewing medications and the ability of pilots “to do their jobs safely.” The agency sets health standards for pilots and requires each possess a medical certification of physical fitness.
“Chloroquine and hydroxychloroquine were both reviewed by the FAA Federal Air Surgeon when they entered the market and have long been considered generally incompatible for those performing safety related aviation duties,” the agency said.
FAA does allow limited exceptions for pilots with arthritis to take small doses of hydroxychloroquine. It says pilots who take the medication but meet a number of other criteria may take an eye examination and receive a special certification.