The need for hydroxychloroquine, one of the antibiotics considered to be used for the care of Covid-19 patients, grew globally as the number of cases of coronaviruses increases regularly. Considering that India is a leading producer of this medication, several nations, including the United States, have encouraged the government of Indian nations to increase their drug exports, while India balances this demand with its domestic needs.
With growing global demand, many in India fear that hydroxychloroquine, which is also being used in the near future to treat other diseases and conditions might run out of stock. To address these issue the Government will launch a Covid Med online portal that will help people know about the access points for Covid-19 drug hydroxychloroquine. The portal helps users to check stock inventory at nearby pharmacies and plan visits accordingly. The government is going to provide availability information in a district-wise manner. The decision would benefit thousands of people in India who have no access to the drug even though the export restrictions in India have been lowered last week.
Apart from Covid-19, malaria and autoimmune diseases such as rheumatoid arthritis and lupus, are treated using hydroxychloroquine as well. So National Pharmaceuticals Pricing Authority (NPPA), India’s drug pricing regulator, has asked all pharmacy stores across the country to update the availability of hydroxychloroquine on the online portal.
According to an ET report the government now looks at listing only hydroxychloroquine and and has plans to add azithromycin on the online portal. The site is also planned to list other medications in the future as well. The data will also be updated every day in order to provide up-to-date information on hydroxychloroquine supply. The data on the platform will be updated daily at the district level
S Eswara Reddy, the joint drug controller has already given a notice to drug sale license holders to register on Covid-med. Along with retailers, the website will also monitor the availability of the drug at all distribution channels including cost and freight agents, depot, distributors, and wholesalers.
NPPA President Shubhra Singh said India has ample azithromycin stock and hydroxychloroquine formulation manufacturing capability to satisfy country needs as well as export demand. Singh said that the supply of these medications is reviewed regularly by an NPPA team. “Once domestic consumption is met, the NPPA will meet export demands,” Singh said.