Hydroxychloroquine stock to be monitored on IT platform: NPPA

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According to officials, the center government’s department of pharmaceuticals is developing a platform that would be run by information technology (IT) to monitor the stock of anti-malaria drug hydroxychloroquine (HCQ) after allegations of supply crunch in several places.

However, pharma players said there is no shortage of hydroxychloroquine, which is used as a prophylaxis (a treatment to prevent a disease) for people at high risk of contracting the coronavirus disease (Covid-19). They also said that tbe reports of shortages could be attributed to a popular brand running out of stock because of hoarding by patients.

NPPA and the Drugs Controller of India under the health ministry, have approached all stakeholders to have a check upon the information on the supply of the medicine is uploaded and updated on the platform on a regular basis. This will help officials updated on the medicine’s availability and address gaps as and when they surface.

Basant Goel, the president of Retailers and Distributors Chemist Association (RDCA), said that, “there is a particular brand that is facing supply shortage though others are available in the market.The initial shortage was reported because, when there was no restriction on the sale of hydroxychloroquine, people started hoarding a popular brand. But now we will be getting more supplies. Also, the sale of hydroxychloroquine is restricted by the governemnt, and you need to have a valid prescription to buy it.”

Earlier, over-the-counter sale of hydroxychloroquine was already restricted by the government. It is now available only on prescription. While health ministry says all departments are taking extra steps to ensure the supply of hydroxychloroquine, the external affairs maintains that only the surplus stock is being exported after the recent relaxations of rules.

“We have adequate manufacturing capacity, today, in the country and have sufficient supply to meet both domestic and export demand,” the Indian Pharmaceutical Alliance said in a statement.

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