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India Partially Lifts Ban On Antimalarial Drug Export As Trump Warns Of Retaliation

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India Partially Lifts Ban On Antimalarial Drug Export As Trump Warns Of Retaliation

The Indian government on Tuesday (New Delhi time) partially lifted restrictions on the export of antimalarial drug hydroxychloroquine, according to Asian News International.

What Happened

The authorities will allow the export of the drug, along with paracetamol, on a case-by-case basis after "meeting domestic requirements," and depending upon the availability of stock, ANI reported.

The decision on which countries receive the shipments will be taken by the ministry of chemicals and fertilizers and the ministry of external affairs together based on "humanitarian situation," per ANI.

In India, hydroxychloroquine is recommended for asymptomatic healthcare workers and others taking care of novel coronavirus (COVID-19) patients.

The government banned the export of the drug to ensure sufficient domestic supply, even as the country is one of the largest producers of hydroxychloroquine in the world.

Why It Matters

The change in the Indian government's policy follows President Donald Trump's comments warning of possible retaliation if the country doesn't meet the United States order for the drug.

"I don't like that decision. I didn't hear that was his decision," Trump said, referring to Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi at the White House Coronavirus Task Force press conference on Monday, as reported by Bloomberg.

"I would be surprised if that was his decision. He would have to tell me that."

"If he doesn't allow it to come out, that would be OK, but of course there may be retaliation, why wouldn't that be," the president added.

India had banned the drug on Saturday, around the same time as Trump held a phone call with Modi, asking for supply to the U.S.

Trump has recommended the use of the antimalarial drug for coronavirus patients, but medical experts, including White House Coronavirus Task Force lead member Anthony Fauci, have warned that there isn't substantial evidence to suggest that the drug is helpful for the patients.

 

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