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Hungary's Alkaloida says it can mass produce hydroxychloroquine for coronavirus use: media

BUDAPEST (Reuters) - Hungarian pharma company Alkaloida Zrt has asked for a domestic distribution licence for its drug Hydroxychloroquine and can produce 20 million pills, enough to treat 2.2 million people infected with coronavirus, the firm said on Friday.

Last month the Hungarian government banned the commercial export of hydroxychloroquine sulfate, an ingredient used in drugs for coronavirus treatment in several countries, and also banned exports of drugs containing the ingredient.

Alkaloida purchasing director Laszlo Pallos told business daily Vilaggazdasag on Friday that it had been exporting its 200mg Hydroxychloroquine to the United States for several years.

He said the company and the Hungarian pharma authority OGYEI were now working together to ensure the drug would get the necessary permit in Hungary.

He said the company can make about 900,000 tablets a day.

“As Hungary is one of the world’s largest exporters of this ingredient, the protection and medical supply of the Hungarian population is now a priority,” the government said when it banned the exports.

Sanofi SA said on Thursday that it will be able to provide millions of doses of hydroxychloroquine for patients with the illness caused by the novel coronavirus if the old malaria drug proves successful in clinical trials, its chief executive told Reuters.

Demand for hydroxychloroquine surged after U.S. President Donald Trump touted it as a potential “game changer” for the pandemic and U.S. regulators have since authorised its emergency use for coronavirus patients. However, the European Commission has said there is no evidence yet that the drug is effective for coronavirus patients.

Reporting by Krisztina ThanEditing by Kirsten Donovan

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