IPCA – The company at the centre of India-USA tussle for hydroxychloroquine
Soon after the Indian government put an end to the export ban of the anti-malarial drug hydroxychloroquine following American President Donald Trump’s request, the shares of IPCA labs, the company that produces the vaccines, has skyrocketed 18% to a new high of Rs 1,616, despite the otherwise dull trend in the market.
IPCA Laboratories is an Indian pharmaceutical company manufacturing anti-malarial and anti-hypertensive drugs, with 350 formulations and over 80 Active Pharmaceutical Ingredients (APIs) in over 60 countries. It has emerged as one of India’s top exporters with a 25% turnover, out of which 75% is exported to Europe, USA, Canada, and Australia. The company also leads in the manufacture of Disease Modifying Anti Rheumatic Drugs (DMARDs) for Rheumatoid Arthritis.
The company was founded in 1949 by K. B. Mehta and Dr N. S. Tibrawala, and was taken over by the Bachchan family in 1975. IPCA Labs rose to prominence in 2004, when Forbes included the pharmaceutical company in its list ‘Best under a billion company in Asia’ for the second consecutive time. It is also certified by a number of global healthcare agencies like the United States Food and Drug Administration (USFDA), Medicines and Healthcare Products Regulatory Agency (MHRA), and the World Health Organisation (WHO), to name a few.
The company’s initiative ‘Mission Malaria’ was regarded as a success, as they joined hands with the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation, along with research institutes and foundations, to combat the virulent disease.
The US Centre for Disease Control has touted the drug as a possible treatment for COVID-19, although this is as yet unproven. IPCA labs in a statement said, “Due to the shortage implications and/or medical necessity of certain drugs and finished products, the United States Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has made an exception to the import alert for the company's active pharmaceutical ingredients (APIs) of hydroxychloroquine sulphate and chloroquine phosphate produced at the company's API manufacturing unit situated at Ratlam in Madhya Pradesh.”