People pop up, stock hydroxychloroquine; Guj govt intervenes

People pop up, stock hydroxychloroquine; Guj govt intervenes
Ahmedabad, Apr 14 () People in Gujarat have beenconsuming and stocking up hydroxychloroquine, being touted as'game changer' in the fight against coronavirus, prompting thestate government to issue a warning against its health hazardsand a directive to chemists not to sell it over the counter.

India is the world's largest manufacturer ofhydroxychloroquine, which is used in the treatment of malaria.


But, its demand has now increased after US PresidentDonald Trump requested the Indian government to allow itsexport to America to treat COVID-19 patients.

"We have come to know that people were rushing tomedical stores to buy hydroxychloroquine after it came in newsand was also mentioned as an effective medicine by USPresident Trump for those infected by COVID-19," Gujarat Foodand Drug Control Authority Commissioner H G Koshia told .

It has come to light that many people are taking themedicine or stocking it due to the coronavirus fear, he said.

"This is a scheduled H drug, which can be sold bychemist on a prescription of a registered medicalpractitioner. It is not in the interest of normal people totake the scheduled H drug if they do not have COVID-19symptoms, he said.


This type of self-medication can cause harm and sideeffects if not taken under proper care of doctors, he warned.

"Therefore, we have advised people not to take themedicine without the prescription of doctors. We have alsoasked chemists not to sell the drug to patients coming withoutthe doctors' prescription," the official said.

Chemists have been asked to maintain a register ofpurchase and sale of the drug, which they have to do for allthe scheduled H drugs, he said.

A chemist in Bopal area of Ahmedabad said many peoplecome to his store asking for hydroxychloroquine in a day, buthe sells it only to those who have proper prescription.

Koshia said the Gujarat government has enough stockof the medicine, but an advisory has been issued so that thereis no shortage of the drug in the open market.


"If everybody starts stocking or consuming the drug,it will create shortage in the market. This advisory is issuedso that this anti-malarial drug is available for patients whoneed it, he said.

The Gujarat government stockpiled over one crore shotsof the medicine as it became clear that this can be a usefulmedicine against coronavirus, he said, adding that the drug ismanufactured in a large quantity in the state.

"The Food and Drug Control Authority of Gujarat hasgiven approval to 28 companies to produce hydroxychloroquine.Of these, three companies produce active drug ingredients,which are raw material for production of the medicine, hesaid, adding that Gujarat will not face its shortage.

Gujarat Chief Minister Vijay Rupani recently saidthree companies from the state have been asked to producehydroxychloroquine to export it to the US, after PresidentTrump asked the Indian government for its supply.

On the effectiveness of the drug in the fight againstcoronavirus, Koshia said some studies, especially in France,say that it works.


"The Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR) hasrecommended that this drug should be given to frontline healthworkers who are involved in treating those suffering fromCOVID-19, he said.

Earlier, India had banned the drug's export after itwas found that it can be key to the treatment of COVID-19.

However, after requests of US President Trump and fromother countries, the export curbs were partially lifted.

Gujarat has so far reported over 570 COVID-19 casesand 26 deaths. PDGK GK

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