India has decided to export anti-malarial drug hydroxychloroquine to several countries including those in the neighbourhood on a case-by-case basis in sync with its commitment to the international community to fight the coronavirus pandemic, officials said on Tuesday.
Hydroxychloroquine is an old and inexpensive drug used to treat malaria.
Last month, India banned export of hydroxychloroquine in the midst of views that the drug could be used as potential anti-viral agent to protect healthcare workers treating COVID-19 patients from the infection.
President Donald Trump has warned India that the US may retaliate if it did not export hydroxychloroquine despite his personal request, saying he would be surprised if New Delhi did not relent as it has good relations with Washington.
“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,” Spokesperson in the Ministry of External Affairs Anurag Srivastava said.
“In view of the humanitarian aspects of the pandemic, it has been decided that India would licence paracetamol and HCQ (hydroxychloroquine) in appropriate quantities to all our neighbouring countries who are dependent on our capabilities,” he said while responding to media queries on the issue.
India has received requests from several other countries including its immediate neighbours Sri Lanka and Nepal for supply of hydroxychloroquine.