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Coronavirus crisis: India's oldest pharma PSU gets nod to make hydroxychloroquine

BusinessToday.In     April 10, 2020

The Mamata Banerjee government in West Bengal on Friday gave nod to India's first and oldest pharmaceutical company Bengal Chemicals and Pharmaceuticals Limited (BCPL) to manufacture the anti-malaria drug -- hydroxychloroquine (HCQ). Directorate of Drugs Control, West Bengal, gave the necessary licence to BCPL, which will now manufacture HCQ tablets of IP 200 and 400 mg.

PM Chandraiah, Managing Director, BCPL, said, "Now we can manufacture it subject to availably of raw material." He added that they could produce 10 lakh tablets per day. "We don't have raw material right now," he said.

Earlier, in an interview, Chandraiah had said the PSU was fully equipped to manufacture the HCQ drug to help authorities tackle the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak in the country.

Use of HCQ as prophylaxis has been suggested by a section of experts. It is used to treat auto-immune diseases such as lupus and rheumatoid arthritis.

Soon after the lockdown, patients suffering from such auto-immune diseases had complained about the lack of the drug's availability in the domestic market.

Retailers said the drug went out of stock as people started panic purchasing, especially after US President Donald Trump emphasised the drug was useful in coronavirus treatment.

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