India's government said that it is banning the export of hydroxychloroquine and formulations made from the medication, as experts test its efficacy in helping treat patients.
There are currently no approved treatments, or vaccines for COVID-19, the highly contagious respiratory illness. Researchers are studying existing treatments and working on experimental ones, but most patients receive only breathing assistance.
Hydroxychloroquine, a malaria drug, is among the medications that are being tested, as a potential treatment. Earlier this week, the American Society of Health-System Pharmacists (ASHP), which maintains a list of drug shortages, said there is a shortage of hydroxychloroquine.
"Chloroquine has demonstrated toxicity in certain patients," Dinesh Dua, chairman of the Pharmaceuticals Export Promotion Council of India, told Reuters. "You have to tread with caution because there is no comprehensive data to prove it works."