The government is set to launch a portal that will guide patients on hydroxychloroquine — one of the drugs being used as a prophylaxis for health workers — to the nearest pharmacy where it is available, according a report by The Economic Times. The drug, better known as HCQ, is a prescription drug for malaria and auto-immune disorders such as lupus and rheumatoid arthritis. The ICMR has recommended regular HCQ doses for aymptomatic healthcare workers and household contacts of COVID-19 positive cases.

The drug soon became short as the general public rushed to chemists shops to purchase and hoard it for themselves. Even now, different hospitals and state governments around the country have been implementing ICMR’s recommendations in different ways. The Ministry of Health has also further restricted the sale of the drug by classifying it as a Schedule H1 drug.

The National Pharmaceuticals Pricing Authority, which is responsible for drug pricing regulation, has reportedly asked all chemists to start putting details of availability of HCQ on a portal. The portal will initially have details of HCQ and azithromycin, and may later be expanding to other medicines. The portal will reportedly monitor availability of the drug at C&F agents, depot, distributors, wholesalers and retailers.