Hydroxychloroquine: India agrees to release drug after Trump retaliation threat

India has agreed to lift an export ban on a drug US President Donald Trump has called a “game-changer” in the fight against coronavirus, despite reservations from medical experts.

The decision came after Mr Trump warned of “retaliation” if India did not drop the ban on hydroxychloroquine exports.

The president has repeatedly touted the drug as a possible cure for Covid-19, despite a lack of proof.

India is one of the world’s largest manufacturers of hydroxychloroquine.

It is unclear how much will now be exported. Anurag Srivastava, spokesperson for the Ministry of External Affairs, said on Tuesday that the “the stock position could allow our companies to meet the export commitments that they had contracted”.

What happened between the US and India?

President Trump – who, according to the New York Times, owns a “small personal financial interest in Sanofi, the French drugmaker that makes… the brand-name version of hydroxychloroquine” – called Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Sunday, a day after India banned all exports of the drug “without exception”.

The decision came even as Indian cases spiked – as of Tuesday, the country reported 3,981 active cases and 114 deaths due to the virus.

The next day, local media reported that India would “consider” the request.

Source: BBC