India lifts ban on export of hydroxychloroquine after pressure from Trump

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  • India has lifted its partial ban on the export of hydroxychloroquine, the antimalarial drug that President Donald Trump has repeatedly touted as a prevention and treatment for coronaviruses.
  • A few hours earlier, Trump had warned of “retaliation” if India, one of the world’s largest producers of pharmaceuticals, did not reconsider the export ban.
  • India has imposed a partial ban on exports of the drug to protect domestic supplies.
  • There is still no conclusive evidence that hydroxychloroquine can prevent or treat coronavirus.
  • Visit the Business Insider home page for more stories.

India has lifted its almost total ban on the export of hydroxychloroquine – an antimalarial drug touted as a potential means of preventing and curing coronaviruses – after being threatened by President Donald Trump.

Trump has repeatedly stated that the drug prevents or cures the disease, and has describes as “one of the greatest game changers in the history of medicine. “

The Food and Drugs Administration has not established the drug as a safe or effective remedy for coronaviruses, and senior public health officials have refused to endorse the substance as a remedy.

India has implemented a partial ban on foreign drug exports since March 25 and a total ban since Saturday to protect domestic stocks.

But Trump lobbied Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi to reconsider, and said in a briefing on Monday that he did not agree with the export ban, and threatened to ” reprisals ”not specified against the country if it did not respect its wishes.

” I talked to him [Modi] Sunday morning I called him and said we would appreciate it if you would allow our supplies to come out, “said Trump. If he doesn’t allow it, that would be nice, but of course, there could be retaliation. Why wouldn’t there be? ”

In a statement released Tuesday morning, the Indian government made no reference to Trump’s threat, but announced that it was partially lifting the ban in “appropriate quantities” given the “humanitarian aspects of the pandemic,” said the government. local media reported.

India is one of the world’s largest producers of pharmaceuticals and previously announced a partial export ban on medicines, including paracetamol, which it also partially lifted.

The country has implemented the export ban as the number of cases in the country continues to increase. The country recorded more than 4,800 infections and 137 deaths on Tuesday, according to Worldometers – although the actual number of infections would be much higher.

Trump has for weeks made hydroxychloroquine a potentially revolutionary drug against coronaviruses, citing mainly anecdotal evidence.

Experts have warned of the potential negative effects on patients of taking the drug – especially those with underlying heart conditions. Clinical trials are underway in several countries to determine if the drug is effective as a treatment for coronaviruses, but there is not yet clear evidence that the drug works.

Nonetheless, the FDA has authorized discretionary use of the drug by doctors to treat critically ill coronavirus patients, and the federal government has purchased and stored 29 million tablets of the drug.

“There is no evidence that these drugs will help people survive, and there is evidence that they can cause significant damage, including blindness and heart failure,” expert Diana Zuckerman told Politico. in drug safety at the National Center for Health Research.

“These drugs can have dangerous interactions with other drugs, which older patients with other medical conditions may also take. “

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