The government on Friday said the ban on the exports of hydroxychloroquine (HCQ) was lifted in view of a surplus stock of the drug, over and above the domestic needs, and an enhanced production capacity.
During March-May 2020, the number of manufacturing units of hydroxychloroquine increased from 2 to 12 and the country's production capacity of hydroxychloroquine rose from around 10 crore tablets per month to around 30 crore tablets per month, the Chemicals and Fertilizers said in a statement.
"Currently, India is having a surplus of hydroxychloroquine tablets over and above its domestic requirements," it said adding that the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare (MoHFW) is maintaining enough buffer stock of HCQ to cater to domestic demand, it said.
The decision to lift the export ban was taken based on the consultations at the inter-ministerial high-level empowered committee meeting, the statement said.
The panel meets regularly on a fortnightly basis for assessing the availability of drugs in the country.
It was also noted at the meeting that the requirement of the MoHFW for hydroxychloroquine has been fulfilled completely as 12.22 crore tablets of HCQ 200 mg have been given to HLL Lifecare Ltd (HLL), a central public sector undertaking, for dealing with COVID-19, according to the ministry statement.
"... a total of 30.66 crore tablets of HCQ 200 mg have been made available to the domestic market to cater the demand of the country... Further, major manufacturers of HCQ will supply at least 5 crore tablets in the domestic market for the month of June 2020," it added.
Domestic producers of HCQ other than export-oriented units (EOUs), special economic zone (SEZ) units will continue to supply at least 20 per cent tablets of total manufacturing for local pharmacies or trade, whichever is higher for the month of June 2020, the statement said.
The supply made to state governments, HLL and other public and private institutes will be over and above this, the ministry said.
The government on Thursday lifted the export ban on hydroxychloroquine (API as well as formulations) "with immediate effect."
The government on March 25 had banned the export of the drug. India manufactures 70 per cent of the world's supply of hydroxychloroquine.
Companies like Zydus Cadila and IPCA are the major manufacturers in the country, according to the Indian Pharmaceutical Alliance (IPA).