According to the Indian Pharmaceutical Alliance (IPA) secretary-general Sudarshan Jain, drugs 70% of the world demand is manufactured and supplied by India.
India’s biggest manufacturer of the anti-malarial hydroxychloroquine drug which is acclaimed as the “game-changer” in the fight against Covid-19 and is summoned by the US President Donald Trump.
On 24th March, India banned the list of two dozens APIs that cannot be exported from India, while officials getting a report on how much India could require in the worst-hit scenarios for the outbreak of Coronavirus in the country. But on Tuesday, India lifted the ban on many drugs after the US President Trump sought supplies from India for hydroxychloroquine drug.
Earlier, India already was manufacturing 70% of the world’s supply of the drug. The country has the capacity to grade up the output of the hydroxychloroquine.
India has already been delivering 20crore tablets of 200mg each, which makes the producing capacity of hydroxychloroquine (HCQ) at 40tonnes every month. Whereas the drug is also used to serve auto-immune diseases like rheumatoid arthritis and lupus, manufacturers can heave up the production volume.
The top medicinal companies manufacturing HCQ in India are IPCA Laboratories, Zydus Cadila and Wallace Pharmaceuticals. Two of the three laboratories have already bagged the orders worth 10crore tablets from the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare.
Joint Secretary Jain said we already have sufficient efficiency to meet the current demands and in further future, the need arises to ramp up the production, they are committed to that.
The drug has never been produced in developing nations like the USA, due to the non-existent disease Malaria.
Hydroxychloroquine, the derivate of chloroquine, one of the oldest and best anti-malarial drugs, which has lesser side effects. It can be bought over the counter easily and is fairly inexpensive.
Even the supply from china for the active pharmaceutical ingredient (API) used in manufacturing HCQ has been steady since the coronavirus outbreak.
Days earlier, US President Trump was stated saying “The US will retaliate if India doesn’t release the stock of the drugs required to curb the symptoms of coronavirus”. India officials quoted that only once the scrutiny of the domestic requirement and existing orders are fulfilled, we will lift the ban to export all necessary drugs.
Hydroxychloroquine came into the spotlight when the International Journal of Antimicrobial Agents (IJAA), French scientists last month reported that “Twenty cases were treated… and showed significantly curtailment in the viral carriage… and showed the much lower capacity of carrying than reported with those untreated patients in the literature. Even the antibiotic Azithromycin added to it, significantly eliminated the virus.
But the International Society of Antimicrobial Chemotherapy, which owns the IJAA, said its quite a relatively small sample to draw a definite conclusion. They even added, the study didn’t meet the expected standards of the society and completely ensure the patient’s safety.
However, since March 21, Trump has been calling the drug “game-changer” in the prevention of coronavirus and since pushing it.
Last month the Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR) issued the statement saying the use of hydroxychloroquine is allowed to be used for asymptomatic healthcare operatives administering Covid19 patients and household contacts of confirmed Covid19 patients. The government announced the drug can be purchased and used for treatment only once the doctor has provided the prescription for the same.
Now the government has eased the restrictions on 12products and their formulations. But the main objective was to restrain the buying and hoarding at these crucial times and ensure balance in the distribution for patients.
India has exported hydroxychloroquine API in the previous year April-December 2019-20 worth 1.22billion USD. During this period, the formulations made from hydroxychloroquine exports stand at USD 5.50billion.
IPCA is the top drug manufacturer globally.
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.