Home >News >India >Govt lifts ban on export of hydroxychloroquine with some riders

NEW DELHI: The department of pharmaceuticals (DoP) has approved lifting the ban on export of controversial anti-malarial drug hydroxychloroquine, 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, has asked the Directorate General of Foreign Trade (DGFT) to issue a notification to the effect.

“Department of Pharmaceuticals has approved the lifting of ban on export of hydroxychloroquine API as well as formulations. Manufacturers except SEZ/EOU (special economic zones/export-oriented units) units have to supply 20% production in the domestic market. DGFT has been asked to issue formal notification in this regard," Gowda tweeted.

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.

Last week, 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 The study was retracted because of inaccurate data and as the company that collated the data, Surgisphere, did not cooperate with the review.

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