Last Updated: 15th December, 2020
Hydroxychloroquine (HCQ): Indeed, once again ‘Bengal‘ and just another Bengali “Acharya Prafulla Chandra Ray” appears as the savior amidst the global pandemonium (Pun Intended). The amplified global demands for anti-malarial drug Hydroxychloroquine (HCQ) ‘Miracle Drug‘, which is being touted as a ‘game-changer‘ in the treatment of Novel Coronavirus COVID-19, has pushed India’s Oldest Pharma Company, Bengal Chemicals & Pharmaceuticals Ltd (BCPL), to leap into action and obtain a license overnight from the Drugs Controller General of India to manufacture the drug HCQ.
Bengal Chemicals & Pharmaceuticals Ltd (BCPL) was founded by “Acharya Prafulla Chandra Ray“, the Great Indian Chemist whose contribution in the field of chemistry achieved him the title of ‘The Father Of Indian Chemistry.’ It is the only public-sector unit company that manufactures Hydroxychloroquine (HCQ).
The company’s managing director, PM Chandraiah, said Bengal Chemicals & Pharmaceuticals Ltd (BCPL) accommodates the capacity and infrastructure to manufacture around 10-15 lakh tablets per day and it is willing to manufacture Hydroxychloroquine (HCQ) on a cost-on-cost basis during the pandemic.
Chandraiah further said he has written to the state as well as the central government for necessary raw materials to manufacture the Hydroxychloroquine (HCQ).
Preliminary research shows HCQ is effective in reducing the severity of Novel Coronavirus COVID-19, and the Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR) has advised Indian healthcare workers to utilize it as well.
United States President Donald Trump has called this drug; Hydroxychloroquine (HCQ) a ‘game-changer‘ during his coronavirus-related press briefing, and soon after, his government placed a request for the drug HCQ to India.
Despite an initial ban on export of Hydroxychloroquine, after Trump said there could be consequences if India didn’t cooperate, and following a telephonic conversation between Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Trump, the drug Hydroxychloroquine has been finally made available to a number of countries, including the US.
According to a report, Ministry of External Affairs Joint Secretary Dammu Ravi said, “Hydroxychloroquine (HCQ) is in high demand globally. A lot of requests for Hydroxychloroquine (HCQ) have at present been there. Several countries have obliged requests for this particular item.
Taking into view the domestic necessities and requirements, and the domestic stock availability and keeping sufficient buffers for our own requirement, a decision was taken by a group of ministers to release some of the surplus medicine for export purposes.”
“This is, furthermore, an ongoing process. The first batch of the first list of countries has been approved, and the product has started to leave,” he added.
Another report claims the list of countries receiving Hydroxychloroquine (HCQ) from India includes 13 nations, namely the US, Nepal, Bhutan, Afghanistan, Maldives, Bangladesh, Seychelles, Mauritius, the Dominican Republic, Spain, Germany, Bahrain, and Brazil.
However, to a greater degree as there is a rising demand for the drug globally, its effectiveness has been questioned. According to a review research published in the Canadian Medical Association Journal, drugs like Chloroquine, Hydroxychloroquine (HCQ) and Azithromycin are likely to generate adverse side effects like reduced blood glucose levels, irregular heartbeats in patients.