Pak again bans export of anti-malaria medicine

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    Islamabad, April 11 (IANS) Four days after withdrawing a ban on the export of all anti-malaria drugs, Pakistan’s Commerce Ministry has again imposed the ban on the medicines to stockpile them in case of their possible use to treat COVID-19 patients, it was reported on Saturday.

    The ban that has been imposed with immediate effect will remain in place until further decision of the National Coordination Comm­ittee (NCC) on COVID-19, Dawn news quoted the Ministry as saying on Friday.
    For almost a week, there was confusion between the Commerce Division and the National Health Ministry about who was authorised to move a summary for allowing the export of or impose a ban on the anti-malaria medicines.
    The Commerce Division had earlier termed a letter of Drug Regulatory Authority of Pakistan (Drap) seeking ban on exports of masks inappropriate.
    According to an official source, the Commerce Division in the wake of the NCC meeting issued an order on April 3 banning the export of all anti-malaria drugs with immediate effect.
    However, that order did not go down well with the National Health Ministry, said the Dawn news report.
    The cabinet in its meeting on April 6 approved the ban, the source said.
    To implement the cabinet meeting decision, the commerce ministry issued a new notification for imposing the ban on the medicine export, which was dated April 9. However, the notification was released to the media on Friday.
    There are approximately 20 companies, which are manufacturing anti-malaria drugs.
    As per Drap record, there are around 25 million tablets and around 9,000 kg of raw material available in the market to produce drugs.
    This development comes as Pakistan has recorded 4,780 confirmed coronavirus cases, with 72 deaths.