India Bans Export Of Potential Drug for COVID-19

 In Foreign

President Trump has repeatedly called for America not to be dependent on foreign supplies and medicines. A huge case in point surfaced this week as India locked down its 1.3 billion citizens over the coronavirus. But it was their other action that sent ripples through the medical community: they banned the export of hydroxychloroquine and all its formulations. India is the largest manufacturer of the drug in the world because of its necessity for treatment of malaria.

India’s notification did state that they would honor shipments already in the pipeline, and that if there are humanitarian grounds they would take them on a case by case basis.

Reuters reported,

The group said India, the world’s largest supplier of generic drugs, was not short of the drug but that companies were acutely short of staff to run operations.

Cadila Healthcare Ltd, part of the Zydus group and one of India’s top makers of the drug, said it was ramping up production to about 200 million pills a month.

“The priority is to work with the government in these challenging times and do all that we can in combating the coronavirus,” a spokesman said.

Earlier on Wednesday, Cadila Healthcare’s stock fell more than 5% after the export ban was announced.

Late on Tuesday, India ordered a 21-day lockdown of its 1.3 billion people to try to protect the world’s second most populous country from the fast-spreading coronavirus.

“It is impossible to maintain operations due to lockdown, because employees don’t want to come (to work),” Dua said.

India has already banned the export of ventilators, sanitizers and personal protection equipment such as masks and clothing used in the fight against the virus, which has so far infected more than 500 people and killed nine in the country.

The prohibition on exports may be a simple case of preventing the deluge of requests. At this point, the American Society of Health-System Pharmacists (ASHP) stated there is a shortage of the drug.  Several small studies, as we have reported, have revealed a hopeful sign for the use of it and Azithromycin together for treatment of COVID-19.

But why are we dependent on India and China? Cheap labor there? Exorbitant prices here? According to an article in MSN, 72% of the ingredients for drugs used in America are sourced overseas. It is now easy to see why that’s a horrific mistake. Bringing the sources for medications back to the US would not only be a boon to our economy, but a life-saver to Americans.

Featured photo: Screenshot via TheHealthSite

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