The union government and Indian Council of Medical Research have prescribed Hydroxychloroquine for healthcare workers treating a COVID-19 patient, severely critical positive cases of COVID-19 and those in close contact with the positive cases.
India currently has a stock of 3.28 crore Hydroxychloroquine tablets, the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare said on Friday.
The union government and Indian Council of Medical Research have prescribed HydroxyChloroquine for healthcare workers treating a COVID-19 patient, severely critical positive cases of COVID-19 and those in close contact with the positive cases.
As per these requirements, the Indian government has estimated that the country will need about 1 crore HydroxyChloroquine tablets in the immediate future and around 1.6 crore tablets will be needed by the month-end. Hence, the country currently has adequate stock available for domestic need as well, Lav Agarwal, Joint Secretary, Ministry of Health and Family Welfare said.
"Two-three crore additional supply has been ensured via tie-ups. The domestic production of HCQ has been ensured for the future as well. Two crore HCQ tablets have been sent to field level by the private sector," Agarwal added.
The government's statements on HydroxyChloroquine come amid concerns over the export of the tablet to countries like the US and Brazil which are coping with COVID-19 while positive cases continue to rise in India as well.
The anti-malaria drug has been in high demand and several countries have requested India for exporting this drug.
"We have started exporting this medicine. The domestic requirement situation was assessed. HCQ is in high demand globally. A lot of requests on HCQ are already there. Taking into view domestic stock available, keeping sufficient buffer for our own requirements, a group of ministers has decided to release some surplus medicines for export purposes," Dammu Ravi, COVID-19 coordinator at the Ministry of External Affairs said.
India has already started exporting the medicine to the first list of countries which have been approved. The second list of countries is under process, and then third of list will be processed, Ravi added.
While the requests from countries on HCQ already existed, the government has analysed the requests via internal discussions in consultation with the health ministry and pharma department.
"It started on first come first serve basis. Then, we assessed as to who would need first depending on which countries were affected most due to covid-19. Everytime we make a decision to export, we assess our own needs, stock and buffer. We are doing this in a balanced manner, we are rationalizing demands of various countries," Ravi added.
First Published: IST