New Delhi: The Department of Pharmaceuticals has given its nod for lifting of ban on the export of hydroxychloroquine, union minister DV Sadananda Gowda said on Wednesday.

India had banned export of hydroxychloroquine on March 25, with some exceptions, amid views in some quarters that the drug could be used to fight COVID-19. On April 4, it completely banned the exports without any exception.

"Department of Pharmaceuticals has approved the lifting of ban on export of Hydroxychloroquine API as well as formulations. Manufacturers except SEZ/EOU Units have to supply 20 per cent production in the domestic market," the minister of chemicals and fertilisers said in a tweet.

The Directorate General of Foreign Trade (DGFT) has been asked to issue formal notification in this regard, he added.

In another tweet, Gowda said he held discussions with representatives of pharma companies along with some of his ministerial colleagues on the challenges being faced by the industry and on the roadmap to boost exports.

"Had detailed discussion with representatives of pharma companies & association, stakeholder Ministries along with Hon Ministers @piyushGoyal ji, @HardeepSPuri ji, & @MansukhMandviya ji on entire gamut of challenges faced by the industry as well as strategies to boost pharma export," Gowda tweeted. 

India exported hydroxychloroquine API (active pharmaceutical ingredient) worth $1.22 billion in April-January 2019-20. 

During the same period, exports of formulations made from hydroxychloroquine was at $5.50 billion.

(With inputs from PTI)