India has agreed to sell Hydroxychloroquine tablets to Malaysia for use in the treatment of Covid-19 patients as it partially lifts its bar on exports of the anti-malarial drug.
India is the world’s largest producer of Hydroxychloroquine, sales of which have soared across the world including in the United States, especially after President Donald Trump touted it as a potential weapon against Covid-19, the disease caused by the Covid-19 pandemic.
Currently, Malaysia has the third highest number of infections of Covid-19 in South-East Asia with more than 5,000 cases, 83 of whom have died.
“On April 14, India has given permission for Malaysia to import 89,100 tablets, ” Deputy Foreign Minister Kamarudin Jaffar told Reuters.
“We will try to get more Hydroxychloroquine tablets from India, which is also subject to stock availability.”
Malaysia’s Health Ministry said they had “faced challenges” in securing the drug, which it said may be able to reduce the progression of the disease and lung inflammation. It said the drug has been used in Malaysia for mild to severe Covid-19 cases along with other drugs since January.
Malaysia had asked India for more than one million hydroxychloroquine tablets, two sources told Reuter.
“I am not sure if that much can be given, ” one of the sources said. “India is also giving hydroxychloroquine to some less developed countries. In Africa.”
India’s decision to sell the sought-after drug to Malaysia signals a turnaround in relations between the countries that had soured because of repeated criticism of some Indian policies by Mahathir Mohamad, before he resigned as Malaysia’s prime minister in February.