India’s Modi Truckles to Trump on Drug Export

NEW DELHI — India says it will lift a ban on some drug exports including hydroxychloroquine after President Trump threatened retaliation if India failed to send the antimalarial drug to the United States.

Foreign ministry spokesman Anurag Srivastava said Tuesday that having confirmed sufficient supplies for India’s needs, export restrictions “have been largely lifted.”

Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi agreed to export the unproven and possibly dangerous malaria drug hydroxychloroquine to the United States after President Trump threatened to retaliate if he did not. Trump claims it can treat Covid-19. (AP photo/Brian Inganga)

Trump has been championing hydroxychloroquine as a treatment for Covid-19, though it has not been proven effective against the disease and can have serious side effects. The drug is approved in the United States for treating malaria, rheumatoid arthritis and lupus, but experts warn it can cause heart rhythm problems. Trump did not allow the nation’s top expert on infectious diseases, Dr. Anthony Fauci, to answer a reporter’s question about the drug on Sunday.

Trump said he spoke to Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi last week about lifting the ban, and said Monday that he would be surprised if Modi didn’t comply.

“If he doesn’t allow it to come out, that would be OK, but of course there may be retaliation. Why wouldn’t there be?” Trump said.

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