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 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."
"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.
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 Hydroxychloriquine 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.
Time to show-off your poker skills and win Rs.25 lakhs with no investment. Register Now!