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New Delhi: The country’s largest manufacturers of anti-malarial drug hydroxychloroquine (HCQ) — Ipca laboratories and Zydus Cadila — have bagged orders from the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare to supply around 10 crore tablets.

India is a leading player across the globe in the manufacturing of HCQ with Ipca laboratories, Zydus Cadila and Wallace Pharmaceuticals as top pharma companies.

Presently, the country’s production capacity is 20 crore tablets every month.

Shubhra Singh, chairman, National Pharmaceutical Pricing Authority (NPPA), a drug price and availability watchdog, is confident of the drugmakers production capabilities. “We are capable of producing 40 metric tons of HCQ every month (which means 20 crore pills of 200 mg). The drugmakers have built good production capacities as it is also used for rheumatoid arthritis,” she told ThePrint.

“We have confirmed that there are enough stocks across the country and the manufacturers have started supplying the drugs for government orders. If HCQ proves further relevance, its production can be jacked up,” she said.

The Centre has placed the order after the country’s apex health research body, Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR) recommended HCQ be used as a preventive medication for Covid-19 high risk group.

ICMR has also recommended the use of the drug for those involved in the care of ‘suspected or confirmed cases of the coronavirus and for asymptomatic household contacts of laboratory confirmed patients, apart from healthcare workers who are involved in the treatment of Covid-19.’

A mail sent to IPCA laboratories and Zydus Cadila did not fetch a response till the time of publishing.

HCQ could be a game changer

US President Donald Trump has called chloroquine a potential “game changer” for treating the disease caused by the novel coronavirus SARS-COV-2. Hydroxychloroquine is a derivative of chloroquine, with lesser side-effects.

Last month, the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) partially lifted a three-year-old ‘import alert’ on Ipca’s two plants to import the medicine. Zydus Cadila has also received a “sizeable” order from the US for the decades-old drug.

Cadila’s spokesperson earlier told ThePrint that the company can “even quadruple our capacities if need be as we are fully integrated to produce both API and finished dose formulation. We believe that we will be able to cater to the requirements as we are among the few companies in the world who have capabilities to manufacture the drug in large quantities.”

FDA commissioner Dr Stephen Hahn said the regulator is preparing to test chloroquine in a clinical trial with coronavirus patients.


Also read: $50mn for hydroxychloroquine clinical trial to new testing tech — top Covid-19 research news


 

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13 Comments Share Your Views

13 COMMENTS

  1. It’s very sad that India’s oldest manufacturer of Hydroxychloroquine ( HCQ) and pioneer in this field ‘ BENGAL CHEMICALS’ disndi get the order!

  2. . When India is the highest producer of HCQ tablets and having the capacity to produce and meet up the demands of the rest of the world, I think it’s an opportunity for India to extend it’s helping hand to the suffering world to save lives .Once again India will emerge as the Saver of Mankind and as the VISHWA GURU .

  3. Azithromycin tablets can be given for one week to minimize any manifestation of ailments caused by virus,

  4. The first wholly Indian company that started producing this and other drugs effective against malaria and many tropical diseases was the Bengal Chemicals & Pharmaceuticals established in 1901 by the legendary Dr. P.C. Ray. As it happens this national asset was nationalsed by the Govenment of India, was deliberately mismanaged to make it unprofitable and sick and then has been put on the block for selling off. Its vast manufacturing facility at Kolkata is planned to be sold off to real estate developers! This company still manufactures hydroxychloroquine, but the government does not want to use its capabilities even in this national health emergency.

  5. Jab Hamare pass phle se Hi Kafi tablet Hai or India is leading producer in world and can produce 20 crore pills per month ….
    To Kisi Ki help Karne me kya Burai Hai ..
    Hame Ishwar Ne Kisi Ki help karne ke liye kabil samjha achi hai.

  6. Send tablets to hotspots to prevent further infection. Why govt delaying. Maharastra and tamilnadu are in hotspots.

  7. That explains why IPCA labs share price was rocketing even before the news came out. too.
    I presumed because they were the main manufacturers of Chloroquine but not that they got the order from INdian government

    • West Bengal to procure 3 million tablets to tackle corona
      TNN | Apr 8, 2020, 06:11 IST

      TNN
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      KOLKATA: The state government is going to procure 3 million hydroxychloroquine tablets and has already placed orders for it, a senior Nabanna official said on Monday. “We are expecting the supply in phases before the lockdown period is over,” the official said.
      The health official said Bengal had already purchased 4.5 lakh hydroxychloroquine tablets, part of which was distributed in various malaria clinics in Kolkata and the districts. A fresh stock-taking exercise is being conducted on unused hydroxychloroquine tablets. “We have sufficient stock for now,” said the official.
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      Sukumar Mukherjee, who heads the expert committee on Covid-19, said hydroxychloroquine, which is considered as a prophylactic for front-line medical staffers and preliminary responders, can also be used to treat patients. Mukherjee indicated these can also be used to treat suspected Covid-19 cases who have been quarantined.
      An official said they had already contacted Kolkata-based PSU Bengal Chemicals for the drug. “They informed that it was not within their capacity to supply the entire amount due to lack of raw materials,” the officer claimed. “Meetings have also been held with Wallace Pharma and IPCA Laboratories but they said they had problems in bulk production due to the lockdown,” he added.
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      According to Raju Khandelwal of the Indian Pharmaceutical Association, the health ministry has recently made the drug a Schedule H1 category drug, which means it cannot be sold over the counter without prescription, to stop hoarding. Moreover, Khandelwal said the cost of raw material that is sourced from China had more than doubled, for which there is a shortage.
      ICMR has recommended the drug for healthcare workers involved in treatment of suspected or active Covid-19 patients, a health official said. According to reports, there is a rush among people to buy the drug, which is mainly used in malaria and in some cases of rheumatoid arthritis and autoimmune disease, doctors said.
      Santanu Sen, Trinamool MP and former Indian Medical Association president, wants the drug to be only be used by health workers and suspected cases of Covid-19. “There is a specific dose of the drug for health workers who are being directly exposed to the virus. For them, it is to be continued for seven weeks. For those who are in indirect contact, it is to be taken for three weeks,” he said.

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