NEW DELHI: US President Donald Trump said that he has bought more than 29 million doses of anti-malarial drug hydroxychloroquine from India for potential treatment of COVID-19 patients and acknowledged Prime Minister Narendra Modi saying 'he was great'.
India on Tuesday allowed the export of hydroxychloroquine to the US, which has emerged as the global hotspot of COVID-19, infecting nearly four lakh Americans and fatalities more than 12,850 by Tuesday night.
"I bought millions of doses (of hydroxychloroquine). More than 29 million. I spoke to Prime Minister Modi, a lot of it (hydroxychloroquine) comes out of India. I asked him if he would release it? He was Great. He was really good," Trump told an American news channel on Monday night.
Responding to a question on the usage of hydroxychloroquine, Trump said, "You know they put a stop because they wanted it for India.”
“But there are a lot of good things coming from that,” Trump added.
“Lot of people are looking at it and saying, you know I don't hear bad stories, I hear good stories. And I don't hear anything where it is causing death,” said the US President.
Last week Trump said he has sought help from Prime Minister Modi to allow the sale of hydroxychloroquine tablets ordered by the US to treat the growing number of coronavirus patients in his country, hours after India banned the export of the anti-malarial drug. Hydroxychloroquine, an old and inexpensive drug used to treat malaria, is seen as a viable therapeutic solution by President Trump to coronavirus.
The move of exports of the drug that has been recommended by Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR) for healthcare workers who have been treating COVID-19 patients has met with wide criticism from the Opposition leaders.
"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," former Congress president Rahul Gandhi had tweeted yesterday.
On Wednesday morning, the number of coronavirus cases in India rose to 5,194, with 149 deaths, the Union Health Ministry announced. This is the biggest jump in both the number of cases and deaths.
India on Monday agreed to lift the ban on export of hydroxychloroquine to the US. India manufactures 70 per cent of the world's supply of hydroxychloroquine, according to Indian Pharmaceutical Alliance (IPA) secretary-general Sudarshan Jain.