India lifts drug export ban after political pressure

Imports and Exports | | MIC Customs Solutions |

Export restrictions will no longer be in place on certain medicines from India.

India has lifted an export ban it placed on 24 different types of generic drugs last month after what is believed to have been increasing political pressure from nations including the US.

One of the world's biggest suppliers of pharmaceutical products, India hurriedly imposed restrictions in March as the coronavirus pandemic began to disrupt global supply chains.

It put export bans on 26 ingredients and medicines, including the antibiotics tinidazole and erythromycin, the hormone progesterone and the anti-malarial hydroxychloroquine, which US president Donald Trump continues to hail as a wonder treatment for COVID-19.

However, the decision was reversed for 24 of the products this week, with government sources saying this may have been due to a telephone call between Mr Trump and Indian prime minister Narendra Modi.

It is thought the US might have threatened retaliatory sanctions if his counterparts in New Delhi failed to agree to ship essential drugs to the US and elsewhere.

However, Indian foreign ministry spokesperson Anurag Srivastava effectively denied this in a statement, saying the restrictions had simply been in place while the government tried to assess how much could be sent abroad without harming internal supplies.

"Like any responsible government, our first obligation is to ensure that there are adequate stocks of medicines for the requirement of our own people. In order to ensure this, some temporary steps were taken to restrict exports of a number of pharmaceutical products," he added.