The government on Wednesday banned export of anti-malarial drug hydroxycloroquine with immediate effect as the global demand surged for it amid spurt in Coronavirus cases.
Exports will be limited to fulfilling existing contracts, while certain shipments on humanitarian grounds may also be allowed on a case-by-case basis, according to a statement issued by the Directorate General of Foreign Trade.
The drug was touted by US President Donald Trump as a potential coronavirus treatment.
To ensure sufficient availability of the medicine in the domestic market, the government has taken the step day after it prohibited the export of all ventilators, including any artificial respiratory apparatus or oxygen therapy apparatus or any other breathing appliances.
Indian Council of Medical Research Director-General Balram Bhargava had on Monday recommended the use of hydroxychloroquine for treating healthcare workers handling suspected or confirmed coronavirus cases and also the asymptomatic household contacts of the lab-confirmed cases.
The treatment protocol recommended by the ICMR-constituted National Task Force for COVID-19 has been approved by the Drug Controller General of India for restricted use in emergency situations.
The DGFT said, “The export of hydroxycloroquine and formulations made from hydroxycloroquine is prohibited with immediate effect”.
Export will be permitted from the special economic zones or export-oriented units and in cases where the outbound shipment is made to fulfil export obligation under any advance authorisation.
The Government has also prohibited the export of all sanitizers.