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Scenario planning, regular update clause led to export of key drugs in Covid fight

India had undertaken a scenario-building exercise before allowing export of drugs like HCQ.

, ET Bureau|
Last Updated: Apr 09, 2020, 08.35 AM IST
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According to government data, around 1 crore tablets can be exported easily.
NEW DELHI:India had undertaken a scenario-building exercise and decided to allow the export of drugs like HCQ on a case by case basis, taking into account the worst-case scenario in the country, even before US President had threatened to retaliate if Delhi did not allow the consignments, ET has reliably learnt.

During the scenario-building exercise, it was noted that the country will have adequate quantity of HCQ even in a worst case situation, ET has learnt.

The decision to lift the restriction from HCQ was taken on Sunday, after the NPPA chairperson-led panel said Indian companies could cater easily to both domestic and International market. In India, HCQ is manufactured by Ipca Labs and Zydus.

According to government data, around 1 crore tablets can be exported easily. “Once the data is collated by the NPPA-led panel, it will inform Ministry of External Affairs how much can be exported. The NPPA will tell how much can be exported based on which MEA will do the rationing on a case by case basis,” people in the know said. He also shared that paracetamol will also be exported in a similar fashion.

Last week, when the PM spoke to leaders of Germany and Spain, he had indicated at the export of the essential drug. The PM indicated this to leaders of Brazil and Bahrain this week. Later, External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar informed India’s decision to countries in the neighbourhood who are dependent on India.

Meanwhile, US President Donald Trump did a u-turn a day after suggesting retaliation against India by praising Delhi and said PM Narendra Modi was helpful, as he backed India’s position on HCQ.

Trump, in a telephone interview to Hannity on Fox News, said, “I bought millions of doses. More than 29 million. I spoke to PM Modi, a lot of it comes out of India. I asked him if he would release it? He was great. He was really good. You know they put a stop because they wanted it for India. But there is a lot of good things coming from that.”

On Tuesday, India had called for depoliticisation of the export of key drugs. Ministry of External Affairs (MEA) spokesman Anurag Srivastava had said, “Like any responsible government, our first obligation is to ensure that there are adequate stocks of medicines for the requirement of our own people. To ensure this, some temporary steps were taken to restrict exports of a number of pharmaceutical products.”
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