File image of the US President Donald Trump with Prime Minister Narendra Modi

India has imposed a blanket ban on the export of the anti-malaria drug hydroxychloroquine (HCQ).

Notably, almost all the countries bogged down by the COVID-19 pandemic are looking up to the anti-malarial drug as a possible cure of novel coronavirus.

According to The Print, even the US President Donald Trump has requested Prime Minister Narendra Modi for an urgent supply of the drug.

The drug has been touted as a ‘game-changer’ in the fight against the disease that has infected more than 1.2 million people worldwide and induced a global recession in just a few months.

In India, the number of cases jumped to over 3,000 in 10 days.

Trade regulator Directorate General of Foreign Trade (DGT) Saturday issued the ban on the drug and its formulations, modifying a March 25 order that allowed trade with ‘limited exceptions’, such as on humanitarian grounds and for meeting prior commitments.

It had also allowed exports from special economic zones (SEZs) or from Export Oriented Units (EOUs).

Incidentally, the move came when Trump said he requested Prime Minister Narendra Modi to ensure India supplies the drug.

It, however, remains unclear whether the order was issued before or after Trump’s call.

India is a leading global player in the manufacturing of HCQ with Ipca laboratories, Zydus Cadila, Wallace Pharmaceuticals and Cipla as top pharma companies.

A derivative of chloroquine, HCQ has lesser side-effects.

India’s move to ban the export of HCQ will ensure sufficient domestic supply as the country braces for a more dire situation.

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