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Cadila Healthcare says can ramp up HCQ capacity, vaccine to enter human testing in Q2FY21.

Date: 11-04-2020
Subject: Cadila Healthcare says can ramp up HCQ capacity, vaccine to enter human testing in Q2FY21
Cadila Healthcare, part of Zydus Cadila group said it is ramping up production to meet the demand surge for anti-malaria medicine hydroxychloroquine (HCQ) which is now widely used as a prophalytic drug to prevent COVID-19 infection among healthcare workers and high-risk populations.

"We are currently manufacturing 30 metric tonnes per month which is about 150 million tablets. If need be, we can further increase this to 40 to 50 metric tonnes in the coming months," said Sharvil Patel, Managing Director, Cadila Healthcare to Moneycontrol.

"The priority is to ensure the availability of the drug. We are ramping up our production of hydroxychloroquine. Our efforts are geared towards making sure that all patients who need the drug have access to it," Patel added.

Patel said his company doesn't depend on any imports for the drug, implying that it makes key starting material and intermediates, which are typically imported from China for most other drugs.

Cadila Healthcare and IPCA Laboratories are two big producers globally that are vertically integrated and have USFDA approval to supply the formulation and its active pharmaceutical ingredient.

On shortages of hydroxychloroquine for patients suffering from malaria, rheumatoid arthritis and lupus which the drug is intended for, Patel said, "..might have been a temporary phase, but I think this should be sorted out very soon. With the production being ramped up, the drug should be available to all."

Shares of Cadila Healthcare rose almost 16 percent after India partly lifted the export ban on hydroxychloroquine on April 7 citing "humanitarian" grounds. India produces 70 percent of the world's HCQ requirement.

US President Donald Trump announced stockpiling of 29 million doses (2.9 crore doses) of HCQ as the country grapples with the COVID-19 pandemic. Brazil President Jair Bolsonaro requested India for HCQ. India obliged the request. Several other countries have started enquiring with India about possible supply of the HCQ.

The Indian government too placed an order for 10 crore tablets of HCQ from Cadila Healthcare and IPCA.

Read this explainer to know more about HCQ.

Source:- moneycontrol.com

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