Trump Asks India to Loosen Hydroxychloroquine Export Ban as Demand Rises
President Trump has reached out to India’s Prime Minister Narendra Modi following India’s export freeze on the COVID-19 treatment hydroxychloroquine, calling for an exception to the country’s new restrictions.
India, which supplies almost half of the U.S.’s supply has banned the drug’s distribution outside India “without any exception.”
“I said I’d appreciate it if they would release the amounts that we ordered. And they are giving it serious consideration,” Trump said in a White House coronavirus taskforce briefing.
Hydroxychloroquine is showing promise as a COVID-19 treatment, according to Chinese researchers, whose data from a small clinical trial showed it helped treat pneumonia in most trial participants (DID, April 3).
The drug is approved for prophylaxis and treatment of malaria, lupus and rheumatoid arthritis, but received an emergency use authorization at the end of March from the FDA for treating hospitalized COVID-19 patients who can’t participate in clinical trials. That authorization has led to serious supply concerns as demand for the drug spikes.
Trump said the U.S. currently has 29 million doses of the drug in its supply, with even more doses being manufactured by drugmakers. In addition, Sandoz and Bayer recently announced donations of more than 31 million chloroquine and hydroxychloroquine doses to the Strategic National Stockpile.
To conserve supplies and to ensure that patients previously prescribed the medication for other conditions can get their prescriptions filled, about 20 states have instituted measures to limit prescriptions of the drug to emergency uses and for those who were taking it prior to the COVID-19 outbreak. — James Miessler