As Covid-19 continues to create havoc across the globe, Hydroxychloroquine is a source of light. A drug that was first approved in 1955 was never thought to have such great importance in the time of the pandemic. An antimalarial drug which is in the essential list of World Health Organisation (WHO) is one of the safest drug in the health care system. With the countries racing against time to find cure of this deadly virus, efforts are being made globally for the development of vaccine. There are lots of clinical trails going on several drugs for the treatment of covid-19.
Of all the treatment options available, Hydroxychloroquine was the front-runner and was widely used in corona affected countries. The first evidence that they might work for Covid-19 patient came from test tube data. Hydroxychloroquine with Azithromycin was the potential drug to treat novel strain of virus.
India is one of the leading producers of this drug and exporting this drug world wide. In India, at present 12 manufacturing units are working for the production of HCQ, of which Zydus Cadila and IPCA (Indian Pharmaceutical Combine Association Limited) laboratories being the major producers other includes Cipla, Lupin . The cost is less than Rupees 3 per tablet . India is exporting Hydroxychloroquine to over 40 Countries which include US, Canada, Bhutan, Bangladesh, Egypt, Seychelles, Bolivia, UAE, South Africa, Russia, Philippines and many more.
With the population of around 1.3 billion, India is facing its own battle to fight Covid-19 still Indian officials believe India have potential to fight Covid-19 globally. The demand of this drug was increased when a famous political face Donald Trump called it a “game changer”. More eyebrows were lift for the supply of this drug. “Our pharma companies have the capacity to not only take care of India’s needs, but of other countries as well,” said Harsh Pant, a professor of international relations at King’s College in London. The production capacity is sufficient to meet current demand and if the demand arises the companies are ready to ramping up production.
Our pharmaceuticals were ready with the stock of hydroxychloroquine to fight malaria as the season was approaching .When the need of this drug increased due to its use in the treatment of covid-19 , India emerged as a helping hand as it is the largest exporter of hydroxychloroquine in the world exporting about 70 per cent of the total drug during this pandemic. This drug is not produced in developed nation like America due to the non- existent malaria. This is the great an opportunity for India as it can improve its International relations with other countries. Helping at this time will definitely tilt other countries towards India. This will change the dynamics of India globally. Recently, India secured non permanent member seat in United Nation Security Council (UNSC) and this great help might influence other countries to help India in getting permanent member seat which will ultimately lead to veto power.
The rule of Microeconomics work on the fact that optimum production leads to optimum utilization of resources and results in higher profits. During this year India has optimized its production of hydroxychloroquine and this is reflected in the demand and supply chain of pharmaceutical industry and economies of scale is achieved.
China being the exporter of majority of Active Pharmaceutical Ingredient (API) of some major formulations is hit hard by covid 19, this resulted in less availability of the API and high cost for generic production. The API for the production of hydroxychloroquine is also exported by China and we are getting raw material at a very high cost.
Due to Covid-19, the global economy is expected to shrink by over 3% by the end of this year. This is the steepest slowdown since the Great depression of 1930s. Exporting Hydroxychloroquine to the affected countries helped India to earn foreign exchanges, and recently India has witnessed the peak of foreign exchange reserves majorly due to this trade. Indian Pharmaceutical Industry have high technology to meet the regulatory standard of markets and other advantage includes the large labour force.
Pharmaceuticals have out lifted the economy crisis in India by supplying this drug and this lead to boom in this sector. Hydroxychloroquine is like a ship in the wavy ocean. This gave an opportunity to India over other countries, as higher the need of the drug, the higher will be its production, and this will definitely lead to more job opportunities in this sector and ultimately pharmaceuticals will prosper.
WAS IT TOO EARLY TO PREDICT THE SUCCESS OF HYDROXYCHLOROQUINE?
On 17th June 2020, the hope was dimmed when decision was given by the trial’s Executive Group and principal investigators based on evidence from the Solidarity trial, UK’s Recovery trial and a Cochrane review of other evidence that hydroxychloroquine does not result in reduction of mortality of hospitalized covid 19 patients when compared with the standard of care. Peter Kremsner of the University of Tübingen agrees hydroxychloroquine “certainly isn’t a wonder drug.”
A senior scientist of the Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR), leading a large trial of the drug in healthcare workers, stated to The Hindu that whether hydroxychloroquine (HCQ), the controversial anti-malarial drug, can stave off COVID-19 infection will be available by July. As of now it can only be given to asymptomatic health care workers or front line workers. Meanwhile other drugs such as Remdesivir, Favipiravir are taking lime light for the treatment of covid 19 leaving behind hydroxychloroquine due to its high risks. Surely the demand and supply chain of hydroxychloroquine will be altered after its evidence on the effectiveness of the novel strain of corona virus. Is it a boon or ban for COVID-19 patient is still a question of concern?
In this storm of covid-19, countries should be at peace not into pieces and instead of competing with each other we should be complimenting each other.
Surely we will put this pandemic behind us, but for now, in the words of Dr.Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, Director General, WHO, “We see light at the end of the corona tunnel. It is the first pandemic that can be controlled.
Name of Blogger: Medha Jha
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