NEW DELHI: India has partially opened up exports of hydroxychloroquine and paracetamol, which are crucial to the global fight against the coronavirus, responding to a global clamour, led by US President Donald Trump.
The government on Monday decided to free up exports of all medicines, but kept hydroxychloroquine and paracetamol exports on a restricted list. Exports of these two items will be decided by the ministry of external affairs (MEA) along with the Department of pharmaceuticals, depending on humanitarian and extent of COVID infection in that country. India is the world’s largest producer and exporter of hydroxychloroquine.
Trump made a personal appeal to Modi to open up hydroxychloroquine exports. Trump has, in a controversial move, cleared the use of this anti-malarial drug against COVID-19. India has cleared the use of the drug as prophylactic for frontline healthcare workers, directly exposed to the virus, but not yet as treatment, citing insufficient data.
But the use of hydroxychloroquine is gaining acceptance among countries clutching at straws while the virus claims thousands of lives around the world.
On Monday, the latest to call was from Scott Morrison, Australian PM, who also urged Modi to open up pharma exports. In the past few days, Modi has fielded calls from Brazil, Israel, Bahrain, Spain, France, Germany and UK among others, all urging him to open up pharma, particularly hydroxychloroquine, exports.
With India getting a fresh infusion of 150 million tonnes of APIs (active pharmaceutical ingredient) from China, the government, after consultation with pharma companies decided they would be able to meet domestic demand as well as their international commitments.
When the coronavirus epidemic started to gain ground, the Indian government clamped down on pharma exports, expecting a spike in demand. However, sections of the government, notably commerce and foreign ministries argued that India needed to maintain both its global marketshare as well as honour its international commitments. “We cannot abdicate our role as a global player,” said government sources.
Monday’s decision came days after Trump’s phone call, which sharpened focus on India’s strategic relationships — in fact, all the leaders who have called Modi are India’s close strategic partners. India will honour all its pending orders, sources said.
As long as the pandemic is raging, the government plans to monitor the exports of the two key drugs.
Souce from indiatimes