A pack of Hydroxychloroquine Sulfate medication | Bloomberg
Packets of Hydroxychloroquine Sulfate medication | Bloomberg
Text Size:

New Delhi: The Narendra Modi government has decided to partially lift the ban on the export of two key drugs, hydroxychloroquine and paracetamol, to clear “all existing orders”, ThePrint has learnt.

The move comes two days after US President Donald Trump requested Prime Minister Narendra Modi for an urgent supply of the drug. Trump Monday said he was unaware that the export of hydroxychloroquine was banned by India and that he didn’t “like that decision”.

According to sources, a decision has now been taken by the Modi government to “restrict” the export of hydroxychloroquine and paracetamol, while allowing the shipment of all other medicines under the ‘free’ category on which a ban was imposed last month.

The export of hydroxychloroquine and paracetamol will be now taken up on a “case-to-case basis, depending on the availability of stock after meeting domestic requirements,” said a source.

“All existing orders will be cleared. The Ministry of External Affairs and Department of Pharma will decide on such allocations depending on humanitarian (COVID) situation,” the source added.

The decision means India will now honour all those orders it has received in the past few weeks from countries such as the US, Brazil, Spain, France, Germany, Israel, the UK, Australia and the Gulf countries, among others.

The decision to partially lift the ban on hydroxychloroquine and paracetamol was taken late Monday even as the export of all other key medicines like tinidazole, metronidazole, erythromycin salts, vitamins and others were lifted.

“With regard to paracetamol and Hydroxychloroquine (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,” said Anurag Srivastava, Spokesperson, Ministry of External Affairs, Tuesday.

Srivastava added that “in view of the humanitarian aspects of the pandemic, it has been decided that India would licence paracetamol and HCQ in appropriate quantities to all our neighbouring countries who are dependent on our capabilities. 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 government had put a blanket ban on all these medicines, including hydroxychloroquine and paracetamol, on 4 April.


Also Read: India likely to agree to Trump request for malaria drug HCQ for Covid-19 patients in US


‘There may be retaliation’

Meanwhile, the US President Donald Trump said Monday if India did not allow the export of hydroxychloroquine then “there may be retaliation”.

Speaking of the blanket ban that was earlier imposed by India, especially on hydroxychloroquine, Trump said he had a phone conversation with Modi Sunday when he was not told that there was a ban on the export of hydroxychloroquine.

“I don’t like that decision. I didn’t hear that was his decision. I would be surprised if that was his decision. He would have to tell me that,” Trump said.

President Trump, who has long held hydroxychloroquine as a game-changer in the fight against the novel coronavirus, had spoken to Prime Minister Narendra Modi Saturday, requesting a shipment to be sent to the US even as he said his country has “millions of millions of doses of it”.

Trump added that Modi was “giving it a serious consideration”.

“If he doesn’t allow it to come out, that would be OK, but of course there may be retaliation, why wouldn’t that be,” he said.

India is a leading global player in the manufacturing of HCQ with Ipca Laboratories, Zydus Cadila, Wallace Pharmaceuticals and Cipla as top pharma companies. A derivative of chloroquine, HCQ has fewer side-effects.

“India has long been a significant partner of the United States and the pharmaceutical sector. It’s one of our top imports from India in 2018. India is obviously one of the world’s leaders in the supply of generic drugs. It represents a significant portion of the precursor pharmaceuticals that supply the U.S. market,” said Alice Wells, Acting Assistant Secretary, Bureau of South and Central Asian Affairs, US State Department.

“And so we expect this kind of cooperation to continue, and as India analyzes what it needs for its domestic market and as we seek to grow the volume of drugs and PPE that are available both in the United States and also globally to respond to COVID.”

ThePrint is now on Telegram. For the best reports & opinion on politics, governance and more, subscribe to ThePrint on Telegram.

Subscribe to our YouTube channel.

32 Comments Share Your Views

32 COMMENTS

  1. India’s humanitarian response, keeping in mind the need in our neighboring countries as well as
    requests from COVID-hit nations, is commendable! This needs to be adopted by the world powers.

  2. Can you publish the order copy of india govt allowing the export of the said drugs by you in your post from DGFT . It wil be quite useful for you and me so that we may get the clarity regarding the export policy

  3. In this conversation where is the tone of threatening and challenging.Now it is the time for showing humanity.give what we have excess

  4. Everyone talking bulshits, first humanity then speak what you want, there isn’t fault of innocent lives, keep your manners in your mouth

  5. Bring back engineers and doctors from USA who have build their economy and supported their people’s. Priority must be to look after local population needs first.

    • You do know that those engineers are the reason why India gets a huge amount of remittance on her imports. Since India imports more than she exports, we need those remittances from the expats and the Indian diaspora if we don’t want to mess up our economy and global trade chain. Speaking about priorities, India has approximately 5900 cases as of now and the US has 450,000+ cases. India is the world’s largest exporter of generic drugs, we can handle giving some of our stock to countries that need it much more than we do, in the long run this will also help improve the image of India and potentially increase our part in the global economy as the only country other than the US that can take on China and become the global manufacturing hub is India and China is not being viewed in a positive light by rational people at the moment. China has basically given a big middle finger to the world and heck it’s not even sorry for it. We should think of the bigger picture as well, as this pandemic is definitely not going to last forever. We need to think about what will happen once this is all over. Will India play the role of China in the future or will the western governments let the CCP get away with the mess they’ve created and are unwilling to be held accountable for. You decide my friend. Stay safe.
      -Harsh Sharma

  6. President Trump is being understood in wrong perspective by the vested interests. India & America are close friends indeed. Who can expect any negative decision from PM Modi, especially during such Humanitarian crisis.

  7. I really don’t like the term retaliation.

    If you need something ask nicely.
    Each and every govt will try to fullfill own country’s need before exporting anything.

  8. Trump should be careful in his words. You don’t threaten a country which is your friends. bootlicking IT personnel don’t build the nation. It’s the core engineering commerce and doctors and other sectors that build. We know our priorities and don’t need US help at all. It’s the US WHICH NEEDS indian help and not vice versa from now on. Indian practice of MADI acharam is going to help the whole planet. It’s India who should retaliate by refusing to supply US software needs. All software personnel should return and build India the way the Chinese have built their economy.

  9. Who is responsible for massive deaths around the world. Some one has to be made. Wuhan was the epicenter. Will the world come together and claim compensation from China..

  10. This is the right time for our country to take the global leadership under the Honourable P M.it is time to show how India can control the situation at world at Large.To impose on negative list of medicine is not the correct way.we must understand the situation and time because of such corona virus world at.large

    Be caution in your mind that Time is Great others than any bad situation.and to take the learship in world by our country is nothing but the nature have given the Best opportunity to handle the such situations and give the cooperation in such time.

  11. It’s necessary India supply the drug to USA.
    Our country has the capacity to meet the requirements of USA.
    Remember there is a sizable population of NRI’s in USA.
    Moreover scientifically USA is advanced in discovery of new drugs and may find cure for COVID as world’s first volunteer for drug trials is US citizen.
    All in all its a sensible decision to send drugs required by ISRAEL And US.

  12. Good move by our PM,
    Now ” America means India ”
    because in America Several Millions of Indians are residing there, ecking their day to day Food. How can we refuse supplying medicine for America ?
    Who says Our Kith & Kind who are in America are not in need of medicine which USA demanding from us ?
    So raising any controversy on this issue is nothing but in humanism !
    & also Foolish ness

    Thank god we are having Highly Dignified & Good hearted & Humanism Filled PM

  13. Psychologically Trumph words are correct. It’s the matter of life and death of his country people. And don’t forget Indian IT industry contributes 53% to Indian economy..and amoung which 43% of companies works for United States..Before showing too much attitude and arrogance think economically and globally..We must survive economically and I know India will definitely help US as we are the largest manufacturers..But reactions of Shashi Taroor and Rahul Gandhi are awkward. .Thats why they dont deserve to be in Indian politics..They must learn to think in all the aspects.

  14. leaving aside these minor battles, India needs to produce all APIs locally,and not be dependent on Chinese. Health infrastructure was always low priority with these govts all these years. This needs to change.

  15. It’s a calculated move by India. If tomorrow US is successful in finding cure for covid, India would be in a better position than if it had banned Export.

  16. The title of the news says threat but it is request. Media please use correct English or get some lessons first. Later in your new article it says –
    US President Donald Trump requested Prime Minister Narendra Modi for an urgent supply of the drug

  17. The title of the news says threat but it is request. Media please use correct English or get some lessons first. Later in your new article it says –
    US President Donald Trump requested Prime Minister Narendra Modi for an urgent supply of the drug

  18. PM doing it only to prevent shortage that might erupt later. Onions too faced similar crisis. So it cant be repeated n requires preventive measures

  19. Yes a good decision. It will help during
    the crucial times and the alignments of
    Nations.
    Somewhere Russia is the missing piece.

  20. coward. 24″chest. Sanghis are always cowards of the worst type. Shame on you. He should have instead called his bluff.

    • can Trump tell the same to the chinese? stand up Mr. Modi. we all are behind you. Help we would as a nation which believed in vasudaiva kutumbakam but not under threat and intimidation. Let the Americans know it.

      • Your damning comparison of India with China is absurd and as idiotic as the political leaders you are following.India is persuing a strategic relationship with Israel and US,and it should ramp up production of HCQ and supply these countries their entire requirements,remember the Khargil war and the Israelis who who went out of their way to supply you equipments to win that war

    • After Indias need are met, India should help nations which are on fruendly terms. Neglect language of Trumph but it is useful to be in good terms with US, UK, tomorrow if these countries find cure for corona. India could be beneficiary.

LEAVE A REPLY

Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here