To help other nations, India eases hydroxychloroquine, paracetamol export restrictions


India on Tuesday temporarily licensed the export of paracetamol and anti-malarial drug Hydroxychloroquine (HCQ) in appropriate quantities to some countries, which have been particularly badly affected by the coronavirus pandemic.


India, the largest producer of hydroxychloroquine, initially banned exports of the drug on March 25 to ensure adequate domestic supplies.

"In view of the humanitarian aspects of the pandemic, it has been decided that India would license paracetamol and Hydroxychloroquine (HCQ) in appropriate quantities to all our neighbouring countries who are dependent on our capabilities," MEA spokesperson Anurag Srivastava said in a statement.

"We will also be supplying these essential drugs to some nations who have been particularly badly affected by the pandemic. We would, therefore, discourage any speculation in this regard or any attempts to politicise the matter," the spokesperson added.

"Given the enormity of the COVID-19 pandemic, India has always maintained that the international community must display strong solidarity and cooperation," the statement said.

The MEA noted that like any responsible government, India's first obligation is to ensure that there are adequate stocks of medicines for the requirement of its own people.

“In order to ensure this, some temporary steps were taken to restrict exports of a number of pharmaceutical products. In the meanwhile, a comprehensive assessment was made of possible requirements under different scenarios”, the ministry said.

"After having confirmed the availability of medicines for all possible contingencies currently envisaged, these restrictions have been largely lifted," it added.

The Directorate General of Foreign Trade (DGFT) has also notified lifting restrictions on 14 drugs yesterday.

"With regard to paracetamol and HCQ, they will be kept in a 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," Srivastava said.

Earlier, US President Donald Trump and Brazil President Jair Bolsonaro had called on India to permit the supply of the drug to fight with Covid-19 cases in their countries. 

As India continues to reel under the threat of COVID-19 pandemic, the total number of coronavirus patients in the country has surged to 4421. Meanwhile, the number of deaths in the country due to COVID-19 has risen to 114.

According to the data provided by the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare, the total number of active cases in the country is 3981. Meanwhile, 325 persons have been cured/discharged/migrated.

Cases continue to rise in the United States, Spain, Italy, Germany and France, among others. The outbreak is having a major impact on global economy and the stock market.

Coronavirus, which originated in China's Wuhan city in December last year, has so far spread to more than 200 countries. The World Health Organisation (WHO) has declared coronavirus a pandemic. 


With inputs from ANI

Image credit: Business Standard

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