India to export hydroxychloroquine, paracetamol to over 40 countries

Our Bureau New Delhi | Updated on April 23, 2020

Hydroxychloroquine   -  Reuters

Will soon have enough rapid testing kits for large-scale community testing

India will export 285 million tablets of anti-malaria drug hydroxychloroquine (HCQ) to 40 countries on a commercial basis, while five million tablets are being gifted to a number of nations to help the world fight Covid-19, a government source has said.

Exports of 500 million tablets of paracetamol to 60 countries have also been approved while 1.32 million tablets are being given for free, the source said on Thursday.

“India is providing a big basket of essential drugs and life-saving kits to a number of countries to help in the fight against Covid-19. The value of items to be gifted is around $5 million,” the source said. On US President Donald Trump’s announcement of a temporary suspension of immigration into the US, the source said India was still studying the matter.

However, it was happy that it did not cover non-immigrants and H1-B programmes which benefitted both economies.

Change of mind

New Delhi had initially decided not to export HCQ, an anti-malaria drug being used experimentally to treat Covid-19, but then changed its mind.

Trump, too, had made a special demand for the tablets in a phone call with Prime Minister Narendra Modi. India will export the medicine to a number of countries, including the US, Canada, the UK, Mauritius, Bolivia, UAE, South Africa, Sri Lanka, Uzbekistan, Algeria, Russia and the Philippines.

India will soon have enough rapid testing kits to go in for large-scale community testing of the virus, with a South Korean firm starting production in Manesar, the source said. “The Indian subsidiary will produce about five lakh kits per week and is also preparing to ramp up production,” the source said.

A contract for supply of five lakh Covid-19 testing kits was also being firmed up with another South Korean company, the source added.

Quality of test kits

Commenting on the quality of the test kits imported by India that many States were having problems with, the source said the ICMR would arrive at a conclusion after examining if all the conditions for using the kit were met.

Published on April 23, 2020

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