Days after India heeded to US President Donald Trump’s request and allowed the exports of Hydroxychloroquine, an anti-malaria drug touted to have salutary effects in treating the Wuhan Coronavirus, a news portal, Indiatimes, ran a story alleging that while India agreed to export the medicine, its own reserves of the said medical drug are depleting.
In an article, that has now been pulled down, Indiatimes had alleged that stocks of Hydroxychloroquine(HCQ) had run dry for Mumbai doctors who are battling the coronavirus on the frontlines. However, the fact check arm of the Press Information Bureau has rubbished the unsubstantiated claims made by Indiatimes. Taking to its official Twitter page, PIB fact-check posted a tweet stating that the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare(MoHFW) had allocated 34 lakh tablets of HCQ to Maharashtra up to 9 April, adding that the supply far exceeds the present requirement. It further added that it had made its own procurement as well.
#PIBFactCheck— PIB Fact Check (@PIBFactCheck) April 10, 2020
Claim : A prominent newsportal has claimed #HCQ or #Hydroxychloroquine stocks in Mumbai have run out
Fact: MoHFW has allocated 34 lakh tablets of HCQ to Maharashtra upto 9 April. So supply is much more than present requirement. It has also made its own procurement. pic.twitter.com/FnibB7JebK
Earlier today, Indiatimes had published an article which claimed that there is a paucity of HCQ stocks in Mumbai for the treatment of coronavirus patients even the country permitted the export of the crucial medical drug to the United States a few days ago. The article titled “After India Exports Hydroxychloroquine to the US, Stocks runs dry for Mumbai Doctors on Frontlines“(The article has been pulled down) cited a report by Times of India claiming that some patients who were prescribed HCQ drug for the treatment of coronavirus couldn’t procure it since the stocks of the drugs with the pharmacists in Mumbai had run dry.
The article further speculated that the scarcity of the coveted drug in India may have happened as the stockists would have hoarded the anti-malaria drug due to the US demand.
However, the Press Information Bureau busted the unfounded claims made in the article, asserting that the supply in Maharashtra is more than sufficient than the current requirement.
Earlier this week, India had formally announced that it was easing the blanket ban on exports and would consider its export on a case-by-case basis with approval from the ministry of external affairs. The exports were allowed after ensuring sufficient stock for domestic usage. The easing of exports of Hydroxychloroquine to the United States came after US President Donald Trump on Saturday had requested Prime Minister Narendra Modi to supply hydroxychloroquine tablets that are believed to be effective in treating coronavirus patients.
India Times has a history of publishing fake news. One of their ‘esteemed’ journalists Shweta Sengar has been at the forefront of peddling fake news. It is owned by the Times Group.