Coronavirus | India banned Hydroxychloroquine export just before Trump-Modi call

On March 25, trade regulator left the option of export open

April 05, 2020 09:56 pm | Updated December 03, 2021 06:36 am IST - NEW DELHI

With US President Donald Trump describing hydroxychloroquine as a “game changer” in the fight against COVID-19 and several countries, including India, approving it for emergencies, pharmacies are reporting a surge in demand for the drug yet to be proven as a cure against the disease.

With US President Donald Trump describing hydroxychloroquine as a “game changer” in the fight against COVID-19 and several countries, including India, approving it for emergencies, pharmacies are reporting a surge in demand for the drug yet to be proven as a cure against the disease.

India changed its official policy and prohibited export of Hydroxychloroquine , a drug that has uses in the treatment of COVID-19 , hours before U.S. President Donald Trump urged Prime Minister Narendra Modi to release the quantity of the drug that the U.S. had ordered.

The Directorate-General of Foreign Trade (DGFT) had prohibited the export of the drug on March 25. But it left the option of export open to fulfil “export obligation” and on “humanitarian grounds”.

On April 4, the DGFT issued a new notification, ending the exception mentioned in the previous order. As a result, India will not export Hydroxychloroquine and formulations made from it even “against full advance payment”. “The export of Hydroxychloroquine and formulations made from Hydroxychloroquine , therefore, shall remain prohibited, without any exception,” said the notification issued by the DGFT on Saturday.

The Ministry of External Affairs did not respond to questions on the sudden change in the policy. Following Saturday’s phone conversation between the two leaders, the Ministry said Mr. Modi conveyed India’s “deep condolences” to Mr. Trump for the loss of lives in the U.S.

 

“I’d appreciate if they would release the amounts that we ordered and they are giving it serious consideration,” Mr. Trump said about the conversation, indicating that India is holding up the export of the drug because of domestic requirements.

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