Washington, April 9: President Donald Trump has thanked Prime Minister Narendra Modi for his decision to allow the export of anti-malarial drug hydroxychloroquine, which could be used in the possible treatment of thousands of coronavirus patients in the US.
Trump, during a phone call last week, asked Prime Minister Modi to lift the hold on American order of the anti-malarial drug, of which India is the major producer. India lifted the hold on Tuesday.
India agreed to lift the ban on export of hydroxychloroquine to the US. Three Gujarat-based companies would export these tablets to the US, Chief Minister Vijay Rupani said on Tuesday.
“I want to thank Prime Minister Modi of India for allowing us to have what we requested for the problem arose and he was terrific. We will remember it,” Trump told reporters at his daily White House news conference on coronavirus on Wednesday.
In a tweet, hours earlier, Trump praised Modi for his strong leadership and said that India’s help during this crisis would not be forgotten.
“Extraordinary times require even closer cooperation between friends. Thank you India and the Indian people for the decision on HCQ. Will not be forgotten!” he said.
“Thank you, Prime Minister for your strong leadership in helping not just India, but humanity, in this fight!” Trump said.
By Wednesday night, more than 14,600 Americans had lost their lives due to coronavirus and over 4.3 lakh have tested positive for the dreaded disease. Scientists and the medical fraternity are racing against time to find a vaccine and a therapeutic solution to it.
Hydroxychloroquine has been identified by the US Food and Drug Administration as a possible treatment for the COVID-19 and it is being tested on more than 1,500 coronavirus patients in New York. Anticipating that it will work, given initial positive results, Trump has bought more than 30 million doses of hydroxychloroquine for potential treatment of COVID-19 patients.
India manufactures 70 per cent of the world’s supply of hydroxychloroquine, according to Indian Pharmaceutical Alliance (IPA) secretary-general Sudarshan Jain.
The country has a production capacity of 40 tonnes of hydroxychloroquine (HCQ) every month, implying 20 crore tablets of 200 mg each. And since the drug is also used to auto-immune diseases like rheumatoid arthritis and lupus, manufacturers have good production capacities that can also be ramped up.
Indian Americans have welcomed the decision.
“President Trump is graceful and grateful. He is honest when he says that he will not forget India’s gesture. He is a True Friend of India,” said Al Mason, a Trump supporter.
“Thank you President! I think you are well orchestrating the compulsion of history and demand of destiny that we and India be the best of friends, joined at the hip and yet as family, free hearts and minds to love across a spectrum of emotions, but always together,” tweeted Indian-American attorney Ravi Batra.