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Home / News / India /  DGFT lifts export ban on Hydroxychloroquine

The Directorate General of Foreign Trade (DGFT) on Thursday evening lifted the ban on export of controversial anti-malarial drug hydroxychloroquine and formulations made from it, DGFT said in a notification on its website.

On 11 June, the department of pharmaceuticals (DoP) had approved lifting the ban, with the condition that manufacturers supply one-fifth of their production to the Indian market, chemicals minister D.V. Sadanand Gowda said in a post on Twitter.

The DoP, which comes under the ministry of chemicals and fertilisers, had asked the DGFT to issue a notification to the effect.

The DGFT had, on 4 April, banned export of hydroxychloroquine, which is being used to treat covid-19 based on limited evidence.

Two Indian firms, Ipca Laboratories and Zydus Cadila Ltd, are the world’s largest manufacturers of the drug, which has been touted as a potential coronavirus treatment by US President Donald Trump and some other global political leaders.

The Indian Council of Medical Research has also been using the drug to prevent infection among healthcare workers based on theoretical evidence that hydroxychloroquine does not allow the novel coronavirus, or SARS-COV2, to attach to cells.

However, evidence of its efficacy, especially for treatment, is a major source of controversy, with studies, both supporting and opposing its use severely criticised.

Earlier this month, The Lancet Journal retracted a controversial study on hydroxychloroquine which said the repurposed anti-malaria drug increased the risk of mortality in covid-19 patients. The study was retracted because of inaccurate data and as the company that collated the data, Surgisphere, did not cooperate with the review.

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