The Indian government is now allowing the export of a limited supply of hydroxychloroquine, an anti-malaria drug that has shown to be helpful in the fight against the coronavirus.
The decision comes as a reversal to their initial policy stance of hoarding the drug in their country.
“The Indian government had put a hold on exports of hydroxychloroquine as well as on the pain reliever, paracetamol, saying stocks were depleting because of the hit to global supply chains after the coronavirus emerged in China late last year,” Reuters reports.
Bloomberg News reports the drug’s availability was specifically important to the U.S. as “nearly half the supply of hydroxychloroquine to the U.S. comes from makers in India.”
From the report:
According to data compiled by Bloomberg Intelligence, 47% of the U.S. supply of the drug last year came from India makers. Only a handful of suppliers in the top 10 are non-Indian, such as Actavis, now a subsidiary of Israeli generics giant Teva Pharmaceutical Industries Ltd. It’s likely that some of their production facilities are nevertheless located in India, the biggest maker of generic drugs in the world.
India’s export ban on the drug is aimed at ensuring it has enough supply for domestic use after the American president’s endorsement sparked global stockpiling of the medication.
So President Trump called up Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi and urged him to reconsider.
Indian foreign ministry spokesman Anurag Srivastava announced: “India would license paracetamol and HCQ in appropriate quantities to all our neighboring countries who are dependent on our capabilities.”
“We will also be supplying these essential drugs to some nations who have been particularly badly affected by the pandemic,” he continued.
“After having confirmed the availability of medicines for all possible contingencies currently envisaged, these restrictions have been largely lifted,” Srivastava added.
In addition, the Indian government said it was lifting curbs on the export of 24 pharmaceutical ingredients and medicines made from them that includes several antibiotics, such as tinidazole and erythromycin, the hormone progesterone and Vitamin B12.