Hydroxychloroquine: Brazil invokes tale from Ramayan to request drug from India
The anti-malaria drug hydroxychloroquine has become one of the most sought after drugs after US President touted it as a potential weapon against the coronavirus pandemic. The tug-of-war heated up when US President Donald Trump warned of a "retaliation" if India didn't lift the ban and allow the export of the drug. But shortly after, India allowed limited exports and called for depoliticisation of export of key drugs essential for combating Covid-19.
Over the last few weeks, HCQ has become one of the most sought after drugs worldwide; and India, the world’s main supplier of generic drugs, has found itself under pressure from other countries to export this drug.
Latest in the line is Brazil, whose President Jair Bolsonaro wrote to Prime Minister Modi saying, "Just as Lord Hanuman brought the holy medicine from the Himalayas to save the life of Lord Rama's brother Laksmana, and Jesus healed those who were sick and restored the sight to Bartimeu, India and Brazil will overcome this global crisis by joining forces and sharing blessings for the sake of all peoples. Please accept, your Excellency, the assurances of my highest esteem and consideration."
The HCQ tug-of-war heated up when US President Donald Trump warned of a "retaliation" if India didn't lift the ban and allow the export of the drug. But shortly after, India allowed limited exports and called for depoliticisation of export of key drugs essential for combating Covid-19.
On Tuesday Trump displayed a change in tone and backed New Delhi's position on the export of the great. From "retaliation" threat a day earlier, Trump went on to call Modi "great". He said to Fox News, "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."
The Indian government had put a hold on exports of hydroxychloroquine as well as on the pain reliever, paracetamol, saying stocks were depleting because of the hit to global supply chains after the coronavirus emerged in China late last year.
On Tuesday, the Ministry of External Affairs announced that “It has been decided that India would licence paracetamol and HCQ in appropriate quantities to all our neighbouring countries who are dependent on our capabilities.”
“We will also be supplying these essential drugs to some nations who have been particularly badly affected by the pandemic,” said Indian foreign ministry spokesman Anurag Srivastava.