India has removed bans on Hydroxychloroquine (HCQ) after facing pressure and perhaps a prospect of retaliation by the U.S. and President Donald Trump.
With a population just short of 1.4 billion people, second only to China, India has yet to feel the full impact of the global pandemic caused by the coronavirus. The latest statistics from Worldometers, a website that is tracking COVID-19, shows India with only 4,858 confirmed cases and 136 deaths as of April 7.
By all appearances, this is a ticking time bomb considering areas of India with a dense and financially stressed population and a health system ill-equipped to handle a major health crisis.
Ironically, India may also be the key to ending the global pandemic because it is a major supplier of HCQ, usually an anti-malaria drug that has shown promise as an effective treatment for COVID-19. One of HCQ’s biggest advocates is none other than President Trump.
Recently Michigan State Representative Karen Whitsett, a Democrat from the Detroit area, thanked Trump for touting the drug, and thus saving her life from the coronavirus.
Last year, India supplied nearly half of the hydroxychloroquine to the U.S, market, reports said. But on Saturday, April 4, India’s Prime Minister Narendra Modi put a total ban on the export of HCQ. This eliminated the “exceptions” for exports made a month earlier when a partial export ban was placed on HCQ, pain reliever Paracetamol plus dozens of other drugs. The ban meant half the U.S. supply of hydroxychloroquine was taken out.
The prime minister’s motives seemed quite “Trumpish” in its “India First” attitude to ensure that the domestic stockpile can meet India’s demands in the case of an outbreak of COVID-19.