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India lifts temporary ban on supply of hydroxychloroquine after US President Trump threatens retaliation

Prime News, National and International, Health. Disease, Pharmaceuticals, New Delhi, April 7:-India on Tuesday temporarily licensed the export of paracetamol and anti-malarial drug Hydroxychloroquine (HCQ) in appropriate quantities to some countries, which have been particularly badly affected by the coronavirus pandemic.

Hours before the decision was announced, the US President had threatened India with retaliation if the exports were not allowed to America. In a press briefing, he said that when he spoke with PM Modi on the phone over the weekend.

“I’d appreciate if he allows our supplies to come out. If he doesn’t allow it to come out it would be okay but of course there would be retaliation, why wouldn’t there be?” He also once alleged that “for many years they’ve (India) taken advantage of US on trade” but added that “India does very well with the United States.”

“In view of the humanitarian aspects of the pandemic, it has been decided that India would license paracetamol and Hydroxychloroquine (HCQ) in appropriate quantities to all our neighbouring countries who are dependent on our capabilities,” MEA spokesperson Anurag Srivastava said in a statement.

“We will also be supplying these essential drugs to some nations who have been particularly badly affected by the pandemic. We would, therefore, discourage any speculation in this regard or any attempts to politicise the matter,” the spokesperson added.

“Given the enormity of the COVID-19 pandemic, India has always maintained that the international community must display strong solidarity and cooperation,” the statement said.

The MEA noted that like any responsible government, India’s first obligation is to ensure that there are adequate stocks of medicines for the requirement of its own people.

In order to ensure this, some temporary steps were taken to restrict exports of a number of pharmaceutical products. In the meanwhile, a comprehensive assessment was made of possible requirements under different scenarios, the ministry said.

“After having confirmed the availability of medicines for all possible contingencies currently envisaged, these restrictions have been largely lifted,” it added.

The Directorate General of Foreign Trade (DGFT) has also notified lifting restrictions on 14 drugs on Monday.

The Directorate General of Foreign Trade had issued a notification on April 4, putting a complete prohibition on the export of hydroxychloroquine and its formulations, changing its March order that had allowed a case-by-case look at the export of the drug.

“With regard to paracetamol and HCQ, they will be kept in a licensed category and their demand position would be continuously monitored. However, the stock position could allow our companies to meet the export commitments that they had contracted,” Srivastava said. (NAV, Inputs: Agencies)

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