Covid-19: India may open export of hydroxychloroquine but domestic consumption, neighbours first priorities

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Covid-19: India may open export of hydroxychloroquine but domestic consumption, neighbours first priorities

India has received a lot of requests for export of the anti-malarial drug hydroxychloroquine even days after it put the potential cure for coronavirus in the prohibited list of export items.

Highly placed sources told India Today TV that India is looking into providing hydroxychloroquine to countries that have put in requisitions.

But, the first and foremost priority would be domestic consumption.

“We’re calculating domestic requirement for arthritis, malaria and potentially Covid-19. Then we will look at supplying to others.”

Sources also told India Today TV that “partial lifting of the ban on the export of HCQ (hydroxychloroquine) and paracetamol” is being considered.

“It depends on the availability of stock after meeting domestic requirements, existing orders will be cleared. D/o PHARMA and MEA will decide on such allocations depending on humanitarian (COVID) situation,” they said.

On April 4, the Ministry of Commerce and Industry, Directorate General of Foreign Trade, through a notification said, The export of Hydroxychloroquine and formulations made from Hydroxychloroquine, shall remain prohibited, without any exception.

Sources say while exporting of hydroxychloroquine has been banned, exceptions can always be made by the committee headed by the Cabinet Secretary.

As of now, around 30 countries have requested India for the supply of hydroxychloroquine, including the US.

India would look into the requests from all countries, especially from the neighbourhood, keeping in mind India’s Neighbourhood First’ policy.

US President Donald Trump on Saturday had said that during his telephonic conversation with Prime Minister Narendra Modi, he asked India to supply hydroxychloroquine tablets to treat coronavirus patients.

President Trump told the press at the White House Coronavirus task force briefing, After my call today with Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi, India is giving serious consideration to releasing the hold it put on a US order for hydroxychloroquine,

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, he said.

I said I would appreciate if they would release the amounts that we ordered of hydroxychloroquine, added President Trump.

The Ministry of External Affairs in its statement said, Stressing the special relationship between the two countries, the Prime Minister reiterated India’s solidarity with the USA in overcoming this global crisis together. The two leaders agreed to deploy the full strength of the India US partnership to resolutely and effectively combat COVID-19.

Prime Minister Modi also conveyed deep condolences for the loss of lives in the United States.

The Prime Minister and the US President exchanged notes on the respective steps taken in each country for mitigating the health and economic impacts of the pandemic, said the MEA statement.

The demand for hydroxychloroquine and chloroquine, a related compound, have jumped after US President Donald Trump said that these salts were effective in treating Covid-19. People are panic buying this medicine.

India, meanwhile, has advocated the use of the anti-malarial drug for treating healthcare workers handling suspected or confirmed coronavirus cases and also the asymptomatic household contacts of the lab-confirmed cases.

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