Andhra Pradesh

‘Export of HCQ will not hit India’s fight against COVID’

Production can be scaled up within no time, says Pharmexcil D-G

Revocation of ban on the export of Hydroxychloroquine, an affordable drug for treatment of malaria, will not hit India’s fight against COVID-19, says a top official of the Pharmaceuticals Export Promotion Council of India (Pharmexcil).

India is the world's largest producer of Hydroxychloroquine, popularly called HCQ. United States President Donald Trump recently made a personal request to India to lift the ban to enable export of the drug to help his country tackle the pandemic as New York became the epicentre of noval coronavirus after incidence was brought under control in Wuhan (China) — the birthplace of the deadly virus.

Indian drug formulators export 80-85 % of the production to almost all parts of the world, as global pharma majors more or less stopped large-scale production of this low-cost molecule due to lack of demand. Only three companies in India, including Laurus Labs, have the approved Drug Master File (DMF) in the United States.

Leading manufacturers of HCQ tablets are IPCA Laboratories, Zydus Cadila Healthcare, INTAS Pharmaceuticals and Laurus Labs Ltd. Of these, Laurus Labs is located near Visakhapatnam, Pharmexcil Director-General Ravi Uday Bhaskar told The Hindu on Thursday that the demand in various countries for HCQ had gone up all of a sudden as the treatment of COVID-19 patients combined with Azithromycin was showing positive results. The global demand for this product has increased manifold. The Government of India had prohibited its exports to meet the requirements of its people.

Steady earnings

Upon review of the status of the Indian manufacturers’ capabilities in fulfilling the needs of the nation, the government had taken a call to release the exports to countries which needed it the most, he said.

Mr. Uday Bhaskar said India's current manufacturing capacity of HCQ was 38 tonnes per month which could be scaled up to 58 tonnes per month in the coming days. He said HCQ was now being termed by many countries the game-changer.

India’s total exports of HCQ and its formulations during financial year 2019 was US$ 51.6 million. During April-February, it was US$36.41 million.

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Printable version | Jul 7, 2020 9:01:10 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/andhra-pradesh/export-of-hcq-will-not-hit-indias-fight-against-covid/article31360003.ece

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