India also imposed a ban on export of HCQ (API and its formulations) after the drug came into limelight for its curative properties in treating Covid-19 cases. In the last week of March, the government had allowed exports on a ‘case-to-case’ basis on humanitarian grounds from special economic zones and export-oriented units. However, on April 4, India imposed a blanket ban. It was also around the same time when US President Donald Trump called Prime Minister Narendra Modi and discussed the issue of HCQ. In his daily news
conference at the White House during the weekend, Trump said, “I called Prime Minister Modi... They make large amounts of hydroxychloroquine. India is giving it a serious consideration.”
A leading exporter said: “There is enough stock of paracetamol in the country. At present, the US, which has become the epicentre of the Covid-19 outbreak, needs paracetamol. The US is worried that India’s stance can lead to drug shortages in that market, as we supply almost 25 per cent of the generic medicines sold in the US.” The exporter said India would lose its credibility as the “pharmacy of the world” if it adopts protectionist policies during such a crisis.
Apart from the 13 APIs and their medicines, HCQ, too, is produced in India in large quantities.