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Coronavirus pandemic: India to relax blanket ban on hydroxychloroquine export, to allow limited export of the drug to certain ‘badly affected’ nations

Bolsonaro had earlier tweeted that he has sought PM Modi's help to supply the necessary pharmaceutical components for hydroxychloroquine production in Brazil to fight against coronavirus.

India had recently put a blanket ban on the export of hydroxychloroquine keeping in view the increasing domestic demand amidst the rising cases of Wuhan coronavirus. A government order dated April 4 had banned all existing export licenses and orders too. However, today, it has been reported that the Indian government will grant the license of export in appropriate quantities to all the neighbouring nations who are depended on India’s capabilities for production of hydroxychloroquine.

It is notable here that India had banned the anti-malaria drug’s export back on 25 March. After that USA, SAARC nations, UAE, Indonesia and several European and Latin American nations had requested India to lift the ban and allow export.

On 27 March, the Department of Pharmaceuticals had asked India’s drug prices regulator to examine if India has enough stocks to fulfil domestic demand as meet export demand as well.

Read: Coronavirus: Govt orders sale of Hydroxychloroquine strictly as per Schedule H1 norms, read what it means

India’s notification on 4 April read, “The export of hydroxychloroquine, and formulations made from hydroxychloroquine falling under any ITCHS code, including the ITCHS codes mentioned in the notification number 54 dated 25 March 2020, is no longer allowed SEZs/EOUs or any Advanced Authorisation or under the para 1.05(b) of Foreign Trade Policy 2015-20 or against full advanced payment as specified under para 2 of the notification. The export of hydroxychloroquine, and formulations made from hydroxychloroquine, therefore, shall remain prohibited, without any exception.”

US President Donald Trump had stated that he had spoken to PM Modi and had requested to allow export of US orders of hydroxychloroquine. He had asserted that he is hopeful India will oblige. He had also mentioned in an answer to a journalist that there may be ‘retaliation’ if India does not allow the export of the drug to the US.

It is also notable here that the consignments cleared for exports were pre-existing orders by US and Brazil. MEA spokesperson Anurag Srivastava has stated, “Both paracetamol and hydroxychloroquine will be kept under ‘licensed category’ and their demand position would be continuously monitored. However, the stock position could allow our companies to meet the export commitments that they had contracted.”

The MEA will decide on allocations on a case-to-case basis after evaluation of domestic demand. Exports of existing orders are to be made after meeting domestic demands.

It has been reported that India has allowed limited consignments of hydroxychloroquine to be exported to USA and Brazil after personal called by US President Donald Trump and Brazil President Zair Bolsonaro to PM Narendra Modi.

Bolsonaro had earlier tweeted that he has sought PM Modi’s help to supply the necessary pharmaceutical components for hydroxychloroquine production in Brazil to fight against coronavirus.

The Indian MEA has stated that India will allow the export of hydroxychloroquine and paracetamol to some countries which are ‘badly affected’ with the coronavirus crisis. The MEA has also stated that no speculation and politicisation of the issue should be made.

It is notable here that India is the largest producer of hydroxychloroquine and its formulations in the world. Presently many nations have reported that the anti-malaria drug is showing promises as an effective treatment for the Wuhan coronavirus disease and hence the global demand has surged.

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