Law makers in Bolivia have approved a toxic bleach which has falsely been branded around as a miracle cure as a coronavirus treatment.
According to local media reports, the Latin American country’s Legislative Assembly gave chlorine dioxide the green light despite reports of people being hospitalised and injured after taking it.
The approved bill allows the “production, commercialisation and supply of chlorine dioxide solution to prevent COVID-19 and as a treatment for sick patients”.
Chlorine dioxide is usually used as a disinfectant or to whiten paper products but in recent years it has been hailed as a miracle cure which is able to treat most illness and health conditions by conspiracy theorists and alternative medicine advocates.
Calling it “Miracle Mineral Solution” or MMS the belief is claimed to be gaining influence in Latin America where countries are struggling to cope with the coronavirus pandemic.
There have been cases across Bolivia of people being hospitalised after taking chlorine dioxide, Business Insider reports.
Bolivia’s own ministry of health has warned people not to take it and will prosecute anyone producing and selling it.
In June medical regulators in the country released a statement warning that chlorine dioxide “puts the health of the population that consumes or intends to do so at serious risk”.
It added that the US Food and Drug Administration says it has recorded reports of “severe vomiting, severe diarrhoea, life-threatening low blood pressure caused by dehydration and acute liver failure after drinking these products”.
Both houses of the Bolivian parliament are controlled by the left-wing MAS party, which also used to control the presidency.
But the MAS president Evo Morales was ousted last year following allegations of election fraud so the role is currently held by the caretaker government of the opposition conservative Jeanine Añez.
Sergio Verdugo, an Associate Professor of Universidad del Desarrollo Law School, Chile, told Business Insider that under the Bolivian constitution Añez can either approve or reject bill.
But if she rejects it the legislative assembly can override her decision if there is an “absolute majority” of legislators there when the vote takes place.
The passing of the bill could strain relations between Añez and Bolivia’s legislators weeks before the country’s delayed presidential election which will take place on October 18.
It was originally scheduled for September 6, but the president delayed them over fears of coronavirus spreading.
To date there have been 1,198 deaths in Bolivia and 100,344 cases.
The US president’s ideas were quickly dubbed “irresponsible and dangerous” by medical experts following his rambling speculation in front of reporters at the White House.
President Trump had previously promoted hydroxychloroquine as a possible cure – a drug that has no proven benefit in fighting covid-19.