What is Hydroxychloroquine, that USA wants from India?

A drug named “hydroxychloroquine” is in news since the US President, Donald Trump has requested India to lift the ban on the export of this drug and send it to the USA. But do you know why such an affluent nation wants a simple drug from India? Let’s understand it in a step by step manner. This is all connected to the pandemic COVID-19.

What is Hydroxychloroquine (HCQ)

Hydroxychloroquine is a drug that is used to treat diseases like Malaria, rheumatoid arthritis, lupus, and porphyria cutanea tarda. It is an oral prescription drugs

Why is Hydroxychloroquine in news now?

  • The drug came into news majorly after, US President Donald Trump requested India to supply it to the USA. Trump also said that India could face retaliation for its ban on hydroxychloroquine. 
  • Studies have suggested that the use of Hydroxychloroquine can be made in treating patients of suffering from Corona Virus (COVID-19). 
  • A study in China showed that the use of Hydroxychloroquine drug increased the speed of recovery of a small number of patients who moderately ill. Authors of the report said that the symptoms of COVID-19 like cough, fever and pneumonia went away faster and that patients’ illness were less likely to become severe.
  • Another study in France showed that the use of this drug, combined with common antibiotics, was effective in fighting COVID-19.



Why the USA want Hydroxychloroquine from India?

India is the world’s largest producer of hydroxychloroquine. India manufactures 70% of the world’s supply of hydroxychloroquine, according to Indian Pharmaceutical Alliance (IPA). In FY19, India exported $51 million worth of this drug. However, on March 25, 2020, the Indian Government had put a ban on the export of this medicine, in order to preserve domestic supply. Now, after the request of US President Donald Trump, the Indian Government has said it would consider all exports on a case-by-case basis.

India’s production capacity for Hydroxychloroquine

  • India has a production capacity of 40 tonnes of hydroxychloroquine (HCQ) every month, which equals to 20 crore tablets of 200 mg each. 
  • The Central Government of India has requisitioned 10 crore tablets of HCQ from Ipca Laboratories and Cadila Healthcare.
  • Each COVID-19 patient reportedly needs 14 tablet course and so the 10 crore pills ordered by the government can potentially treat over 71 lakh people.

Major Manufacturers of HCQ in India

  • Ipca Laboratories (top manufacturer)
  • Zydus Cadila
  • Wallace Pharmaceuticals
  • Cipla
  • Mangalam Drugs

Lets hope that our produced HCQ, helps our nation and the whole world in containing the COVID-19 pandemic. This will also boost our Indian Economy to a great extend.

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