India Bans Export Of Hydroxychloroquine, Trump Says ‘There May Be Retaliation’

The National Pharmaceutical Pricing Authority on April 6 tweeted a Government order that completely prohibits export of Hydroxychloroquine from India, without any exceptions.

On March 25, the Directorate General of Foreign Trade (DGFT) had already passed a notification prohibiting the export of Hydroxychloroquine — an anti-malarial drug that is now being widely used to treat the coronavirus.

However, there were a few exceptions to the ban which includes allowing exports of orders placed before the notification of the ban, exports on humanitarian grounds and exports from Special Economic Zones.

On April 4, the DGFT amended the earlier notification and prohibited exports of Hydroxychloroquine completely without any exceptions.

Earlier, US President Donald Trump, at a White House press conference on Saturday, said that he had sought Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s help for release of the orders of Hydroxychloroquine placed by the US.

Here is what DGFT has said:

“We have seen some attempts by sections of the media to create unnecessary controversy over the issue of COVID19 related drugs and pharmaceuticals. Like any responsible government, our first obligation is to ensure that there are adequate stocks of medicines for the requirement of our 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. After having confirmed the availability of medicines for all possible contingencies currently envisaged, these restrictions have been largely lifted. The DGFT has notified lifting restrictions on 14 drugs yesterday. 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.”

Given the enormity of the COVID19 pandemic, India has always maintained that the international community must display strong solidarity and cooperation. This approach also guided our evacuation of nationals of other countries. 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.”, says DGFT.

Donald Trump said he was unaware that Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi had banned the export of a drug that the U.S. president believes is effective against coronavirus, and said he asked Modi for a supply of the medicine.

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

Trump said in a recent phone conversation with the prime minister that the U.S. would “appreciate” allowing a U.S. order of the drug “to come out.”

US President Donald Trump also indicated that there might be “retaliation” if India doesn’t release the US order for the anti-malarial drug hydroxychloroquine used to fight COVID-19.

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