Two companies plan on ramping up production of a drug usually used to treat malaria or arthritis after President Donald Trump praised it and another anti-malarial drug on Thursday.
After the Trump administration drew attention to the anti-malarial drugs, pharmaceutical company Mylan said it restarted production of hydroxychloroquine sulfate tablets at its manufacturing facility in West Virginia.
Chinese researchers have said chloroquine showed effectiveness inhibiting the new illness in vitro, while French researchers found success using hydroxychloroquine to treat humans with COVID-19.
Mylan expects to be in a position to start supplying tablets by mid-April and produce some 50 million tablets.
Teva Pharmaceutical Industries is looking into ways to produce additional hydroxychloroquine sulfate tablets after announcing a donation of 6 million tablets to hospitals across the United States that will be shipped by the end of the month.
“Immediately upon learning of the potential benefit of hydroxychloroquine, Teva began to assess supply and to urgently acquire additional ingredients to make more product while arranging for all of what we had to be distributed immediately.”
Teva expects to ship another 10 million tablets or more by the end of April.
Shortages of chloroquine phosphate tablets exist though the reason is unclear, according to the American Society of Health-System Pharmacists. Hydroxychloroquine sulfate tablets are also in short supply, the group said.
Rising Pharmaceuticals, the manufacturer of chloroquine, told the Financial Times that it is ramping up production in India after receiving five times as many orders as usual in the past seven days.
The company increased the price of the drug in January but is now selling at the price it was before, an executive told the paper.
Bayer, meanwhile, said it was donating three million chloroquine phosphate tablets in partnership with the United States government.
"Currently not approved for use in the United States, Bayer is working with appropriate agencies on an Emergency Use Authorization for the drug’s use in the U.S."