Home > News > India > Malaria drug exports banned amid views it can fight coronavirus
Photo: Reuters
Photo: Reuters

Malaria drug exports banned amid views it can fight coronavirus

  • The commerce ministry has banned the export of the drug and its formulations with immediate effect
  • Hydroxychloroquine capsules are being used in clinical trials

NEW DELHI : India on Wednesday banned exports of anti-malarial drug hydroxychloroquine, which is claimed to be effective in treating Covid-19 patients although clinical trials have not confirmed their efficacy.

“The export of hydroxychloroquine and formulations made from hydroxychloroquine are prohibited from immediate effect," a notification by the commerce ministry said.

However, the commerce ministry said exports will be allowed from special economic zones and to fulfil prior obligations or for humanitarian efforts by the government.

On Tuesday, India also banned exports of sanitizers and extended a ban on ventilators to artificial respiratory apparatus, oxygen therapy apparatus and any other breathing appliance to ensure the availability of these critical healthcare items.

“The move is aimed at preventing any scope for export of ventilators by alternative classifications," a commerce ministry official said on condition of anonymity.

The Directorate General of Foreign Trade (DGFT) last week banned exports of surgical and disposable masks, all ventilators and textile raw material used for making masks with immediate effect.

“The export of all ventilators, surgical/disposable masks only, and textile raw material for masks and coveralls only...has been prohibited, with immediate effect," DGFT said in a notification.

India is staring at a shortage of ventilators as more people are expected to be admitted to hospitals that may require critical care. Mahindra Group will immediately begin work to explore how its factories could make ventilators, chairman Anand Mahindra said on Sunday.

“We need to create scores of temporary hospitals and we have a scarcity of ventilators. To help in the response of this unprecedented threat, we at the Mahindra Group will immediately begin work on how our manufacturing facilities can make ventilators," Mahindra said in a series of tweets.

The government earlier this month declared face masks and hand sanitisers essential commodities for the next 100 days to ensure price regulation and availability as it stepped up efforts to boost supply and prevent hoarding of these items necessary to fight Covid-19.

Both masks (2 layered and 3 layered surgical masks, N95 masks) and hand sanitisers have been brought the under Essential Commodities Act, 1955, empowering state governments to regulate production, distribution and prices of these items.

The Indian government earlier this month declared face masks and hand sanitisers essential commodities for next 100 days to ensure price regulation and availability as it stepped up efforts to boost supply and prevent hoarding of these items necessary to fight COVID-19.

Both masks (2 layered & 3 layered surgical masks, N95 masks) and hand sanitisers have been brought under Essential Commodities Act, 1955, empowering state governments to regulate production, distribution and prices of these items and also crackdown on hoarding and black marketing. "Government has notified an order under the Essential Commodities Act to declare these items as essential commodities up to June 30, 2020, by amending the schedule of the Essential Commodities Act 1955," the Consumer Affairs Ministry said in a statement.

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