Delhi. Indian government has placed 11.45 crore tablets of hydroxychloroquine (HCQ) on urgent basis which will be directly procured by a government-owned healthcare manufacturing company Hindustan Latex Limited (HLL) Life care on behalf of Union Health Ministry.
HCQ is an anti-malarial drug and COVID-19 has been recommended as a prophylaxis according to the national workforce for COVID-19 only. It is not a cure, but this protocol has been recommended by the National Task Force for mostly frontline health care workers and has been approved for restricted use in emergencies by the Drug Controller General of India (DCGI).
A senior health ministry official told ANI, “For HCQ, we have placed orders for about 11.45 crore tablets for two Indian firms – IPCA Laboratories and Zedus Cadila. So far, we have received 6.64 crore HCQ medicines and the remaining Will reach by 16 May. ”
The official stated that according to the revised guidelines on clinical management of COVID-19, HCQ tablets are only for restricted and prophylaxis use of COVID-19.
“Its selected eligible persons include: (i) asymptomatic health care personnel involved in the care of suspected or confirmed cases of COVID-19 patients, (ii) asymptomatic domestic contact in laboratory-confirmed cases, (iii) COVID-19 suffering from severe disease. Patient ICU management is required, ”he said and added that these drugs should be administered under close medical supervision with monitoring for side effects .
This medicine is not recommended for children under 12, lactating and pregnant mothers. The official said that in known cases of retinopathy, the drug is contraindicated in individuals with hypersensitivity known to HCQ.
According to the official, “Out of the 6.64 crore HCQ drugs, the Center has distributed at least 4.3 crore HCQ tablets to the states and the rest is placed in the center-state buffer stock.”
Some states have purchased about 38 million HCQ tablets directly from manufacturers.
“Therefore, more than 10.44 crore HCQ tablets are available to the states,” the official said.
If someone becomes prophylactic, on prophylaxis, they should immediately contact the health facility, perform tests according to national guidelines, and follow standard treatment protocols according to government guidelines. A person is advised to consult a physician for possible drug interactions before any adverse event or onset of medication.
These guidelines are based on currently available information and will be reviewed periodically after new evidence is revealed.
Apart from domestic use, India has exported around 3 million HCQ tablets to 87 countries, receiving accolades from the Heads of States of various nations.
On Friday, the central government had informed that production of HCQ has increased to 30 crore tablets in April from a production capacity of 123 million tablets. A total of 16 crore tablets have been released in the market.