Experimental medicines for the treatment of COVID-19

Key Guidance

NSW Health Interim Guidance on use of antiviral and immunomodulation therapy in COVID-19 (updated 12 May 2020) – frequently updated, click here to find the latest version.

National COVID-19 Clinical Evidence Taskforce Living Guidelines (updated weekly) – link

  • There is currently insufficient evidence to endorse the use of any specific medication therapies for COVID-19. NSW TAG does not endorse the use of these medicines for COVID-19 outside a clinical trial setting. It is acknowledged that for deteriorating and critically ill patients, some clinicians may nevertheless choose to prescribe these therapies experimentally via the Individual Patient Use process. NSW TAG has developed the following supporting documents to assist clinicians and patients/carers if the medicines are used experimentally outside a clinical trial setting for hospitalised adults with COVID-19.

By downloading any document from this webpage, you agree that you have read, accepted and agreed to the following Terms and Conditions. If you do not agree with these terms and conditions, do not download.

Terms and Conditions of Use
  1. The documents require endorsement by the local Drug and Therapeutics Committee prior to implementation in the hospital/district/network.
  2. The downloaded document will only be used in the care of a hospitalised patient with COVID-19. Its use is not appropriate for a patient in the Hospital in the Home/ Virtual Hospital settings or a community-based patient.
  3. The document user will periodically check for updated documents.
  4. For the reasons stated above, the documents should not be placed on the intranet of a hospital/district/network. A link to this webpage may be provided on the intranet.
  5. The Work on this webpage and the documents downloaded via this webpage are copyright and remain the property of NSW Therapeutic Advisory Group Inc (TAG). No document can be modified without the permission of NSW TAG.

Any enquiries in regards to copyright, sharing the copyright Works, or requests for further authorisations should be directed in writing to Dr Sasha Bennett at

  • The following leaflets and consent forms have an allocated field in the header to insert the name of the hospital/local health district once they have been approved for use.

  • 1. Patient and Family Information Leaflets

    • Hydroxychloroquine – Patient and family information [Download PDF]
    • Tocilizumab – Patient and family information [Download PDF]
  • 2. Consent Forms


    Informed consent (preferably written) should be obtained for the experimental use of any medicines to treat COVID-19 and documented in the patient’s Health Record. To assist in reducing the risk of cross contamination during the process of obtaining written consent from a patient with COVID-19, Hand Hygiene should be performed before/after contact with the consent form (patient and healthcare worker) and any pens/accessories used should be cleaned.

    A local process should be implemented to manage the consent form process involving the patient and some possible options include:

    1. Obtaining a digital photo version of the signed consent form and emailing to the appropriate staff member for upload into the patients’ Health Record. (Ensure photo provides clear image of signatures).
    2. Sealing the consent form in a plastic bag and quarantining until potential contamination by SARS-CoV-2 is no longer suspected. The original can then be filed in the patient’s Health Record.
    3. Verbal consent – if this is the only practical option then this must be documented clearly and the reason why written consent is not obtained included as well as details of the Information provided to a patient. There are various options for inclusion into the electronic medical records application for e.g. free text typing by the prescriber or uploading a voice recording of the prescriber advising the patient about the medicine and its potential benefits and harms.

    Further guidance is available in the Consent to Medical and Healthcare Treatment Manual, particularly Section 4.

  • 3. Drug Guidelines

    • Hydroxychloroquine – Drug guideline – Version 1 published 13 May 2020 – [Download PDF]
    • Tocilizumab – Drug guideline  – Version 1 published 20 May 2020 – [Download PDF]
  • 4. Individual Patient Usage (IPU) Applications

    Approval of experimental, off-label COVID-19 therapy IPU requires reporting of clinical outcomes

    IPU applications and outcome reporting should occur as per local governance processes.

    A NSW TAG drug registry using online IPU application and outcome reporting processes is in development.

    • Hydroxychloroquine – Online IPU application & reporting – coming soon
    • Tocilizumab – Online IPU application & reporting – coming soon
  • Additional Information

Page last updated 20 May 2020