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India to export critical drugs like hydroxychloroquine to more than 20 countries for Covid-19

The drugs are being exported in two categories — humanitarian aid and commercial basis. They are being donated to SAARC, African countries and are likely to be sold to US, Germany

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New Delhi: India is exporting critical drugs like hydroxychloroquine, paracetamol as well as azithromycin to over 20 countries to aid the fight against the Covid-19 pandemic, ThePrint has learnt.

From the US in the west to Bangladesh in the east, these drugs are being exported to more than 20 countries in two categories – commercial and humanitarian aid, said sources.

According to sources, India will be exporting these drugs to US, Brazil, Spain, Germany, Bahrain, Nepal, Bhutan, Afghanistan, Maldives, Bangladesh, Seychelles, Mauritius, Dominican Republic, Israel, Canada, UK, France, Australia, New Zealand and some other African countries, including South Africa.

While the Modi government is planning to donate these drugs to some countries in SAARC, Africa and Latin America, it will be selling them to countries like the US and a few European countries.

“We are in the process of providing humanitarian aid in the form of pharmaceutical and other items, including HCQ & paracetamol … We are processing requests for medicines from other countries based on availability. These would be supplied on a commercial basis,” said a source.

Also read: How the humble hydroxychloroquine has become India’s unlikely new global strategic asset

Medicines will be sent in batches

The medicines will be sent in batches to these countries over a certain period of time based on when the order was placed by them and emergency situations in certain countries.

The countries that had put in requests in early March will get the first batch of consignment and eventually, it will be sent to all others who have requested the drugs.

“A lot of requests for HCQ (hydroxychloroquine) were already there and taking into view domestic stock and requirement while keeping a sufficient buffer, a decision was taken by the Group of Ministers to release some of the surplus medicine for export purposes,” said Dammu Ravi, Additional Secretary and Covid Coordinator, Ministry of External Affairs.

He added that the country has more than three times the supply of hydroxychloroquine that is needed for domestic consumption.

Earlier this week, US President Donald Trump had said the US has 30 million doses of hydroxychloroquine, some which was procured from India.

“I want to thank Prime Minister Modi of India for allowing us to have what we requested from before the problem arose.  And he was — he was terrific. We’ll remember it,” said Trump during a White House press briefing Wednesday.

Israel Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro have also thanked Prime Minister Narendra Modi, along with a few other world leaders, for sending hydroxychloroquine, an anti-malaria drug that is believed to be effective in curing Covid-19.

“Thank you government of India, for approving Maldives’ request for Hydroxychloroquine, which is being called a game changer in the fight against #Covid19. A friend in need is truly a friend indeed!,” tweeted Abdulla Shahid, foreign minister of Maldives.

Also read: India’s decision to send hydroxychloroquine to US ‘will not be forgotten’: Trump thanks Modi

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