ISLAMABAD: The federal government has approved modalities for export of chloroquine – a medicine that is said to help in combating Covid-19 disease –by relaxing a ban on case to case basis. Chloroquine is made by manufacturers of anti-malaria drugs
The National Command and Operation Centre (NCOC) in its meeting held on April 16 discussed the ban on the export of anti-malarial drugs and recommended that chloroquine export be allowed to the exporters who are in possession of the raw material for production.
Sources told The Express Tribune that the federal cabinet on April 21 directed the National Health Services, Regulation & Coordination Division to discuss with the NCOC as to what extent manufacturers of anti-malarial drugs could be allowed to export chloroquine in relation to the raw material imported.
The cabinet had also directed that "based on NCOC recommendations, the National Health Services, Regulations & Coordination Division shall move a summary for approval of the cabinet ".
The division referred the matter to the NCOC which in its meeting on April 27 recommended that the drug manufacturers may export chloroquine prepared from imported raw material.
It proposed to relax ban imposed by the government on case to case basis, subject to import/export laws and the Drug Regulatory Authority Pakistan (DRAP) regulations.
It said Ministry of Health should issue a no-objection certificate (NOC) to pharmaceuticals that import raw material for the manufacturing of antimalarial drugs only for the exportable surplus.
The exportable surplus will be determined through a baseline survey of current and anticipated demand and supply of chloroquine after meeting the domestic needs.
The Federal Board of Revenue (FBR) and DRAP will provide weekly data on the import of raw material and export of manufactured antimalarial products from all respective manufacturers.
DRAP will certify that the export shipments have been produced solely through imported raw materials. The federal cabinet later approved the NCOC proposals.
Earlier, the government had allowed such pharmaceutical firms to export chloroquine to friendly countries –Saudi Arabia and Turkey which had approached Pakistan to provide this drug.
Chloroquine is a medication primarily used to prevent and treat malaria in areas where malaria remains sensitive to its effects. Certain types of malaria, resistant strains, and complicated cases typically require different or additional medication.