NEW DELHI: Amid concerns that panic buying of hydroxy-choloroquine may lead to shortage of the drug after the government allowed prophylactic use of the anti-malarial medicine for prevention of Covid-19 in high-risk cases only, All India Organisation of Chemists and Druggists (AIOCD) asked all its member retailers to keep a stringent check on prescriptions and not sell a dosage of more than 15-20 days per customer.
Separately, the National Pharmaceutical Pricing Authority (NPPA) as well as some state drug authorities also issued advisories to pharma retailers and chemists to not sell hydroxy-choloroquine, chloroquine, as well as the anti-retroviral combination of lopinavir and ritonavir – approved for emergency treatment of Covid-19 – and related products to anyone without prescription of a registered doctor having an MD (Medicine) degree or a pulmonologist.
While manufacturers maintain there are adequate stocks of the drug as of now, India exports almost 80% of its production to countries like Africa as the drug is almost redundant for use in India.
On Monday, the health ministry issued an advisory allowing prophylactic use of hydroxy-chloroquine for prevention of Covid-19 in high-risk cases like healthcare workers involved in the care of Covid-19 patients, and asymptomatic household contacts taking care of such positive cases.
However, TOI spoke to several chemists who said people are randomly coming to buy the drug to avoid the infection .