Lifesaving drugs should be made available to Indians first, says Rahul Gandhi

The external affairs ministry said India would to export the anti-malarial drug hydroxychloroquine to a few neighbouring countries

Rahul Gandhi,
Rahul Gandhi. Photo: Facebook

Congress leader Rahul Gandhi said on Tuesday (April 7) that India must help all countries in their fight against COVID-19 but lifesaving medicines should be made available to Indians first.

“Friendship isn’t about retaliation. India must help all nations in their hour of need but lifesaving medicines should be made available to Indians in ample quantities first,” he said on Twitter.

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Gandhi’s reaction came after the Ministry of External Affairs said India would to export anti-malarial drug hydroxychloroquine to several countries including those in the neighbourhood on a case-by-case basis in sync with its commitment to the international community to fight the coronavirus pandemic.

At the same time, US President Donald Trump, who recently urged India to allow the export of hydroxychloroquine to the United States, had said they may retaliate if New Delhi does not supply what they seek.

Hydroxychloroquine is an old and inexpensive drug used to treat malaria.

Last month, India banned the export of hydroxychloroquine after there was speculation that the drug could be used as a potential anti-viral agent to protect healthcare workers treating COVID-19 patients for the infection.

India has received requests from several other countries, including its immediate neighbours Sri Lanka and Nepal, for supply of hydroxychloroquine.

(With inputs from agencies)

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