Indian government is reportedly considering the request of President Donald Trump to export Hydroxychloroquine to the United States for treating those infected with COVID-19.
Hydroxychloroquine is an anti-malarial drug but it is also believed to be effective against COVID-19 though the scientists are yet to officially recommend it for coronavirus patients.
India had banned the export of hydroxychloroquine and formulations on 26 March though the commerce ministry had said exports would be allowed from special economic zones (SEZs) on humanitarian grounds or to meet prior orders. However, the government completely banned the export of drug and its formulations on April 4 without any exceptions.
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The Cabinet Secretary called a meeting on Sunday to discuss the export of the drug, according to media reports. The meeting was attended by health secretary and officials of the pharmaceutical department.
These reports suggest that the government may put the drug on the restricted list which means that the exports will be allowed for the companies which apply and take a no-objection certificate.
India has received requests from at least 30 countries to supply Hydroxychloroquine. Does India have the capacity to cater to meet its domestic need as well as export the drug at this critical juncture?
The answer is yes if the Indian Drug Manufacturer’s Association (IDMA) is to be believed.
“India definitely has the capacity to cater to both global and local markets. Of course, domestic considerations must come first, but we have the capacity,” IDMA’s Ashok Kumar Madan told the BBC.
On Saturday, President Trump told the media persons at the White House that the Indian government was considering his appeal to supply Hydroxychloroquine.
“After the call today (Saturday) with Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi, India is giving serious consideration to releasing the hold it put on a US order for hydroxychloroquine,” Trump said.
“India makes a lot of it. They need a lot too for their billion-plus people. The hydroxychloroquine, the anti-malaria drug, will be released through the Strategic National Stockpile for treatment. I said I would appreciate it if they would release the amounts that we ordered,” he added.