India set to supply the drug to Nepal, Bhutan and Bangladesh. For other countries, export would be decided by the country’s requirement of these.
India is set to supply hydroxychloroquine (HCQ) and other medicines to its neighbors, namely Bhutan, Nepal and Bangladesh. As Coronavirus continues to go on a rampage, infecting people and talking lives, hydroxychloroquine— a drug used to treat malaria and knee pain in India, has garnered global interest.
India has said that it will supply the drug as these countries are completely dependent on it for pharmaceuticals. This was discussed at the virtual meeting among SAARC trade officials, a day after India relaxed the ban on exports of the drug. SAARC countries, particularly Nepal requested India to lift the ban on the export of HCQ.
How did hydroxychloroquine come into the picture?
A study published in the International Journal of Antimicrobial Agents (IJAA) pointed out that the drug is very effective in virus elimination. By March 21, the President of the United States also started rooting for the drug, even calling it a “game-changer”. This led to panic buying in many countries, with India also deciding to ban its exports, which however were eased by the centre.
For other countries, the supply would be decided by India’s requirement of these. In cases, where the government agrees to export, by keeping internal demand in consideration, the external ministry will process the applications and the department of pharmaceuticals will access those demands.
The SAARC countries, for instance, have already discussed the clearance of import by customs at the meeting. The countries also discussed the release of payments by banks, issues at land customs stations, among others.