It is not clear whether the use of the drug is connected to the death of the 44-year-old doctor. (Representational Photo: iStock)
An Assam doctor has died of heart attack reportedly after taking anti-malarial drug hydroxychloroquine.
However, it is not clear whether the use of the drug is connected to the death of the 44-year-old doctor.
Anti-malaria drug hydroxychloroquine has been approved by the national task force of Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR) as a prophylaxis – a treatment to prevent a disease – for people at “high risk” of contracting COVID-19.
However, the ICMR has said that it is recommended only for a healthcare worker who is treating a COVID-19 patient. Secondly, it is recommended only for persons staying and caring for a household positive patient. They can take that only for ‘prophylaxis’, or prevention.
The treatment protocol recommended by the ICMRhas been approved by the Drug Controller General of India (DGCI) for restricted use in emergency situations.
As the number of Coronavirus cases increased, the Government last week banned export of hydroxycloroquine, with immediate effect to ensure sufficient availability of the medicine in the domestic market.
In a notification issued last Wednesday, the Directorate General of Foreign Trade (DGFT), an arm of the commerce ministry which deals with export and import-related matters, said, “The export of hydroxycloroquine and formulations made from hydroxycloroquine is prohibited with immediate effect”.
It, however, said the government will allow export of the medicine on humanitarian grounds on case-to-case basis on the Ministry of External Affairs’ recommendation.
Export will also be permitted from the special economic zones/export oriented units and in cases where the outbound shipment is made to fulfil export obligation under any advance authorisation license issued on or before the date of this notification, which is March 25, 2020.