In a major move to help the world fight against the spread of the novel coronavirus, an Indian American-owned pharma firm has pledged to donate 3.4 million Hydroxychloroquine Sulphate tablets to some of the key COVID-19 battleground states.
The tablets will be given to the most affected states including New York and Louisiana. The deadly contagious virus has taken the lives of more than 12,800 people in the US alone according to the reports by Tuesday, 7 April.
Amneal Pharmaceuticals to produce tablets
New Jersey-based Amneal Pharmaceuticals, owned by philanthropic billionaire Chirag and Chintu Patel, which is also one of the largest US-based manufacturers, has announced ramping up production of Hydroxychloroquine Sulphate at several of its manufacturing sites and expects to produce approximately 20 million tablets between now and mid-April.
The tablets will be made available nationwide through Amneal's existing retail and wholesale customers, as well as through direct sales to larger institutions in need, the company said.
Amneal has donated two million tablets of 200mg Hydroxychloroquine Sulphate to New York, and one million to Texas to be used in the treatment of COVID-19 patients. It is ready to provide more as needed. It is also donating and providing products directly to hospitals across the country, the company said.
In addition to this, Amneal has also announced a donation of 400,000 Hydroxychloroquine Sulphate tablets to Louisiana.
A unified act against the virus
"All of us at Amneal are committed to supporting our communities in the global fight against COVID-19," said Chirag and Chintu Patel, Co-Chief Executive Officers of Amneal.
"We are working with urgency to assist the hardest-hit states and hospitals around the country to benefit as many patients as possible during this critical time," they said in a joint statement, issued by the Louisiana Attorney General Jeff Landry.
"It is important we all work together to help solve the COVID-19 coronavirus crisis. We must come together as Louisianans and as Americans. This donation from Amneal demonstrates their strong effort to be a good corporate citizen in our nation," Landry said.
Hydroxychloroquine Sulphate was first synthesized in 1946 and is in a class of medications historically used to treat and prevent malaria.
Tablets approved by the FDA
According to Louisiana State Government, Amneal's Hydroxychloroquine Sulphate tablets are approved by the US Food and Drug Administration to treat malaria, rheumatoid arthritis, lupus, childhood arthritis, and other autoimmune diseases.
"This is a crucial time in the global fight against COVID-19," Chirag and Chintu Patel said in a company press release.
"With an existing supply of Hydroxychloroquine Sulphate and our ability to quickly accelerate production, we are humbled to be able to assist the hardest-hit states and hospitals around the country to benefit as many patients as possible," the two brothers said.
Clinical trials of hydroxychloroquine
The Louisiana State University School of Medicine is working to launch two different clinical trials using hydroxychloroquine in relation to COVID-19.
One trial will utilize Hydroxychloroquine on those who have significant COVID-19 disease. The other trial protocol will use and test the drug as a preventative measure for those healthcare workers on the front lines battling the epidemic.
Trials will be conducted at the University Medical Center in New Orleans and at the LSU Medical School locations in Baton Rouge and Lafayette, a media release said.