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DGFT lifts restriction on export of HCQ API & formulation

Our Bureau, Mumbai
Friday, June 19, 2020, 08:00 Hrs  [IST]

The Directorate General of Foreign Trade (DGFT) has lifted restriction on export of both active pharmaceutical ingredient (API) and formulation of antimalarial drug hydroxychloroquine (HCQ).

The notification dated March 25, 2020 has been amended to change the export policy of HCQ API and its formulations from prohibited to free with immediate effect, said DGFT in a notification on June 18, 2020.

The DGFT’s move came after the Department of Pharmaceuticals (DoP) gave its nod to remove the ban on export of HCQ API and formulations.

“Department of Pharmaceuticals has approved the lifting of the ban on export of hydroxychloroquine API as well as formulations. Manufacturers except SEZ/EOU Units have to supply 20 per cent production in the domestic market. DGFT has been asked to issue formal notification in this regard,” said Union minister for chemicals and fertilizers Sadananda Gowda in a tweet on June 10, 2020.

US President Donald Trump has touted HCQ as a game changer for treatment of COVID-19. On March 23, 2020, Union ministry of health and family welfare (MoHFW), released an advisory directing healthcare workers and household contacts of COVID-19 patients to start taking HCQ as a prophylactic following recommendation of the National Task Force for COVID-19 and the Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR).

Following this, the DGFT imposed restrictions on export of HCQ API and formulations on March 25, 2020.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi has received requests from several countries in Latin America, Europe, gulf as well as US to export the drug.

While several studies refute a claim that HCQ can prevent COVID-19, others asserted that it does not aid or expedite the recovery of patients infected by the virus. However, the World Health Organisation (WHO) resumed its trial of HCQ earlier this month after temporarily dropping the drug from its global clinical study into experimental treatments for coronavirus.


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