India – India withdraws export ban on antimalarial drug

India has lifted its near-total ban on the export of hydroxychloroquine — a anti-malarial drug touted as a potential coronavirus prevention and cure — after being threatened by President Donald Trump. 

Trump has repeatedly claimed that the drug prevent or cure the disease, and has described it as « one of the biggest game changers in the history of medicine. »

The Food and Drugs Administration has not established the drug as a safe or effective coronavirus cure, and top public health official have refused to endorse the substance as a cure.

India had implemented a partial ban on foreign exports of the drug since March 25, and a total ban since Saturday, to protect domestic stocks.

But Trump has been placing pressure on Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi to reconsider, and told a Monday briefing that he disagreed with the export ban, and threatened unspecified « retaliation » against the country if it didn’t comply with his wishes.

« I spoke to him [Modi] Sunday morning, called him, and I said we’d appreciate your allowing our supply to come out, » said Trump. « If he doesn’t allow it to come out, that would be OK, but of course, there may be retaliation. Why wouldn’t there be? »…