India bans export of hydroxychloroquine

March 25, 2020

Amidst rising demand for hydroxychloroquine, an antiviral being studied as a treatment for coronavirus, India has halted exports of the drug.

Although the drug is not in short supply in India, the country’s commerce department said there is not enough staff available at some manufacturing companies to run adequate operations. This week, India issued a three-week lockdown on its population of 1.3 billion people, bringing everyday commerce and business operations to a standstill.

India has also banned the export of ventilators, personal protection equipment and sanitizers as the country gears up to fight coronavirus on its own shores. The country has also put restrictions on the export of 26 other pharma medicines, further weakening the global supply chain of drugs.

The supply of hydroxychloroquine and chloroquine has been under intense pressure in the U.S. since President Trump touted the drugs as potential game-changers in the search for COVID-19 treatments. States have already begun putting measures in place to prevent hoarding of the drugs and restrict distribution so that patients who take them for other conditions such as lupus will be able to secure their supply.

Read the Reuters report.