New Delhi: Anti-malarial drug hydroxychloroquine will not be sold without a prescription, the government has notified in a recent order — in an attempt to stop the misuse of the drug, believed to have properties to combat the novel coronavirus. Also Read - COVID-19 in India: Total Death Toll Climbs to 23, Positive Cases Surge to 918 | Top Developments

“Whereas, the Central Government is satisfied that the drug ‘Hydroxychloroquine’ is essential to meet the requirements of emergency arising due to pandemic COVID-19 and in the public interest, it is necessary and expedient to regulate and restrict the sale and distribution of the drug ‘Hydroxychloroquine’ and preparation based thereon for preventing their misuse; Now, therefore, in the exercise of the powers conferred by Section 26B of the Drugs and Cosmetics Act, 1940 (23 of 1940), the Central Government hereby directs that sale by retail of any preparation containing the drug Hydroxychloroquine shall be in accordance with the conditions for
sale of drugs specified in Schedule H1 to the Drugs and Cosmetics Rules, 1945,” the notification said. Also Read - Coronavirus: National Task Force for COVID-19 Recommends Hydroxychloroquine in High-Risk Cases

US President Donald Trump touted Hydroxychloroquine as the game-changer along with Azithromycin. The national task force constituted by the Indian Council of Medical Research recommended the use of the hydroxychloroquine for prophylaxis (prevention) of SARS-CoV-2 infection fir high-risk population. Who constitutes this population? Asymptomatic healthcare workers involved in the care of suspected or confirmed cases of Covid-19 and asymptomatic household contacts of laboratory-confirmed cases. Also Read - Coronavirus: What is Hydroxychloroquine? Why is it Trending?

The Centre also banned the export of hydroxychloroquine, apprehending a shortage. Now, this anti-malarial drug will not be available without a prescription.