NEW DELHI: India on Tuesday temporarily licensed the export of paracetamol and anti-malarial drug Hydroxychloroquine (HCQ) in appropriate quantities to some countries, which have been particularly badly affected by the coronavirus pandemic.
"In view of the humanitarian aspects of the pandemic, it has been decided that India would license paracetamol and Hydroxychloroquine (HCQ) in appropriate quantities to all our neighbouring countries who are dependent on our capabilities," MEA spokesperson Anurag Srivastava said in a statement.
"We will also be supplying these essential drugs to some nations who have been particularly badly affected by the pandemic. We would, therefore, discourage any speculation in this regard or any attempts to politicise the matter," the spokesperson added.
"Given the enormity of the COVID-19 pandemic, India has always maintained that the international community must display strong solidarity and cooperation," the statement said.
The MEA noted that like any responsible government, India's first obligation is to ensure that there are adequate stocks of medicines for the requirement of its own people.
In order to ensure this, some temporary steps were taken to restrict exports of a number of pharmaceutical products. In the meanwhile, a comprehensive assessment was made of possible requirements under different scenarios, the ministry said.
"After having confirmed the availability of medicines for all possible contingencies currently envisaged, these restrictions have been largely lifted," it added.
The Directorate General of Foreign Trade (DGFT) has also notified lifting restrictions on 14 drugs yesterday.
"With regard to paracetamol and HCQ, they will be kept in a licensed category and their demand position would be continuously monitored. However, the stock position could allow our companies to meet the export commitments that they had contracted," Srivastava said.
President Donald Trump earlier on Tuesday warned India that the US may retaliate if it did not export anti-malarial drug Hydroxychloroquine despite his personal request, saying he would be surprised in case of a negative outcome as New Delhi has good relations with Washington.
Hydroxychloroquine, an old and inexpensive drug used to treat malaria, is seen as a viable therapeutic solution by President Trump to coronavirus that has so far killed more than 10,000 Americans and infected over 3.6 lakh within weeks.
Last week Trump said he has sought help from Prime Minister Narendra Modi to allow the sale of Hydroxychloroquine tablets ordered by the US to treat the growing number of coronavirus patients in his country, hours after India banned the export of the anti-malarial drug.
"I would be surprised if he would, you know, because India does very well with the United States," Trump told reporters during a press briefing at the White House on Monday.
(With PTI Inputs)