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Government lifts export ban on hydroxychloroquine

Government lifts export ban on hydroxychloroquine

Government has lifted ban on export of anti-malerial drug hydroxychloroquine (HCQ) API and formulation with immediate effect.

Based on inter-ministerial consultation held on June 3 by a High-Level Empowered Committee having representations from Ministry of Health and Family Welfare, Department of Pharmaceuticals, Ministry of External Affairs, Ministry of Commerce and Industry, Department of Revenue and others, Department of Pharmaceuticals has recommended that ban on export of hydroxychloroquine (API as well as formulations) may be lifted.

Directorate General of Foreign Trade (DGFT) had issued a formal notification in this regard yesterday.

An inter-ministerial high-level empowered committee meets regularly on fortnightly basis for assessing the availability of drugs in the country and will continue to meet to monitor the situation.

In the meeting it was noted that during March-May, 2020 period, number of manufacturing units of hydroxychloroquine have increased from two to 12 and the country’s production capacity of hydroxychloroquine has increased three times from 10 crore tablets per month to around 30 crore tablets per month. Currently, India is having surplus of hydroxychloroquine tablets over and above its domestic requirements.

It was also noted that the requirement of Ministry of Health and Family Welfare for hydroxychloroquine has been fulfilled completely as 12.22 crore tablets of HCQ 200 mg tablets have been given to HLL Lifecare Limited (HLL), a central public sector undertaking, for dealing with Covid-19.

Presently, MoHFW is maintaining enough buffer stock of HCQ to cater to domestic demand. In addition, 7.58 crore tablets of HCQ 200 mg have been supplied to state governments, other Institutions and BPPI/Jan Aushadhi Kendras for fulfilment of their requirement. Further, around 10.86 crore tablets of HCQ 200 mg have been supplied to local pharmacies for catering to the domestic demand. Thus, a total of 30.66 crore tablets of HCQ 200 mg have been made available to domestic market to cater to the demand of the country. There is no unfulfilled domestic demand for Hydroxychloroquine. Further, major manufacturers of Hydroxychloroquine will supply at least five crore tablets in the domestic market for the month of June, 2020.

Drug Controller General of India (DCGI) conducts survey regarding availability of hydroxychloroquine and other drugs in domestic market from time to time. It was noted that in a sample survey conducted on May 25-26, the availability of hydroxychloroquine was indicated at 93.10 per cent in pharmacies located near to Covid-19 designated hospitals.

Accordingly, it has been decided to lift the ban on export of hydroxychloroquine. However, at the same time, domestic producers of HCQ other than EOUs, SEZs and units will continue to supply at least 20 per cent of the total tablets manufactured to local pharmacies or trade, whichever is higher for the month of June. The supply made to state governments, HLL and other public and private institutes will be over and above the quantity mentioned..