India bans export of drug being tested for coronavirus treatment - (Financial Post via NewsPoints Desk)

  • India announced Wednesday it has banned the export of hydroxychloroquine and formulations of the antimalarial drug while experts test its efficacy in treating patients with COVID-19, as reported in the Financial Post.

  • However, the drug chloroquine "has demonstrated toxicity in certain patients," noted Dinesh Dua, chairman of the Pharmaceuticals Export Promotion Council of India, adding "you have to tread with caution because there is no comprehensive data to prove it works."

  • The group indicated that India was not short of the drug, but that companies were acutely short of staff to run operations.

  • Cadila Healthcare, part of the Zydus group, said it was ramping up production to about 200 million pills a month.

  • "The priority is to work with the government in these challenging times and do all that we can in combating the coronavirus," a spokesman said.

  • The news comes as India ordered a 21-day lockdown of the country in a bid to slow down the spread of the novel coronavirus. However Dua noted "it is impossible to maintain operations due to lockdown, because employees don't want to come (to work)."

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