Delhi: India will partially lift the ban on exports of the anti-malaria drug Hydro chloroquine seen as crucial for protection of healthcare workers treating Covid-19 patients. The decision comes in the wake of US President Donald Trump’s threat of retaliation in the event India declines Trump’s request for the supply of the drug.
The US President had called up Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Sunday and urged him to release the anti-malaria drug that he sees as a Covid game changer. I would be surprised if that (not exporting the drug) were his (Prime Minister Modi’s) decision. He’d have to tell me that. I spoke to him Sunday morning, called him, and I said we’d appreciate your allowing our supply to come out. If he doesn’t allow it to come out, that would be okay, but of course there may be retaliation. Why wouldn’t there be?” Trump said.
India has eased restrictions on exports of the anti-malaria drug Hydroxychloroquine and pain reliever paracetamol on case-by-case basis. According to MEA, India will licence the two drugs in appropriate quantities to all neighbouring countries and also the ones that are worst-affected by the new coronavirus pandemic. It has been decided that India would licence paracetamol and HCQ in appropriate quantities to all our neighbouring countries who are dependent on our capabilities,” a Reuters report quoted Indian foreign ministry spokesman, Anurag Srivastava, as saying.
We will also be supplying these essential drugs to some nations who have been particularly badly affected by the pandemic,” he added. India had banned the export of Hydroxychloroquine last month after ICMR recommended the drug for prophylaxis or protecting those who are at high risk of contracting the disease.