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Govt bans Hydroxychloriquine exports; warns chemists from selling without prescription.

Date: 25-03-2020
Subject: Govt bans Hydroxychloriquine exports; warns chemists from selling without prescription
The government has banned exports of Hydroxychloriquine and formulations made from Hydroxychloriquine. It also warned chemists and druggists not to sell the drug without doctor's prescription.

It said, "The export of Hydroxychloriquine and formulations made from H Hydroxychloriquine falling under ITCHS code, is prohibited, with immediate effect. Exports shall, however, be only allowed in conditions."

"You are adivsed to kindly direct your members not to sell the Hydroxychloriquine(HCQs), Chloroquine, Lopinavir/Ritonavir and related products to anyone without the prescription of a 'Registered Medical Practitioner' having MD General Medicine Degree or Pulmonologist," the government wrote to All India Organisation of Chemists & Druggists (AIOCD).

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"All the Chemists and Druggists are hereby advised to strictly adhere to the above instructions as per the provisions of Drugs & Cosmetic Act, 1940 and Rules made thereunder," the government added.

Any deviation in this regard by any of the Chemists/Druggists will be viewed seriously and stringent action as per Drugs & Cosmetics Act.

 People have are scrambling to stock up on antimalarial drug hydroxychloriquine after ICMR recommended the use of the drug as one of the preventive measure in high-risk population.

The high risk population who would be eligible for getting the drug include asymptomatic healthcare workers involved in the care of suspected or confirmed COVID-19 cases and asymptomatic household contacts of laboratory confirmed cases.
Moneycontrol learned that the announcement has led to shortages of Hydroxychloriquine in several cities.

Several medical experts have expressed concern over ICMR announcement, as it would lead people to self-medicate without fully understanding the side-effects it causes. It's not uncommon in India to get prescription drugs over-the-counter as people self medicate, to cut doctor consultation fee.

One chemist in Mumbai told Moneycontrol that even before ICMR recommendation, people have started asking for Hydroxy chloriquine and Erythromycin, taking a cue from US President Donald Trump announcement that the combination of these two drugs could be a game changer in dealing with rising number of COVID-19 cases.

Source:- moneycontrol.com

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