Coronavirus Impact: India Pharma Industry Can Make Medicines Only For 3 Months; Paracetamol Price Up By 40%

Coronavirus Impact: India Pharma Industry Can Make Medicines Only For 3 Months; Paracetamol Price Up By 40%

This calls for an emergency!

Describing the situation in terms of raw material import from China as “grim,” India Pharmaceutical Alliance (IPA) said the Indian Pharma Industry has enough stocks of active pharmaceutical ingredient (APIs) for two to three months only.

“We are in touch with the Centre, seeking faster environmental clearances for some of the API manufacturing units so that dependence on China will be reduced”, speaking on the sidelines of BioAsia 2020, IPA Secretary General Sudarshan Jain said.

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A Serious Issue!

According to Jain, India imports ?17,000 crore worth of APIs from the Novel Coronavirus-hit nation.

Jain said, “It is a very critical and serious situation. No one has got the full predictability of what is happening. We have inventories for two to three months.What we are trying to do is work with the government to see the environmental clearances can be given faster wherever there are issues, so that they (the APIs which are being imported from China) can be manufactured in India and we can have alternate source of supplies.”

Jain said as such China has extended Lunar holidays in their country and the situation may ease from March first week. If the supplies are available by then, we won’t face any problem, according to Jain.

In addition he said, however, it is very difficult to predict whether the situation will  improve or deteriorate. We are monitoring the situation on a daily basis.

Rise in the Drug Prices!

The prices of commonly used analgesic, paracetamol have gone up by 40% due to Coronavirus outbreak in China. 

Pankaj R Patel, the Chairman of Zydus Cadila mentioned in a report in Bloomberg that the cost of azithromycin, an antibiotic used to treat many bacterial infections has also risen by 70%.

The Chinese manufacturers are coming back to normalcy but at a slow pace. This is not only affecting the Indian pharma industry, but all other industries as well. 

If China doesn’t come out of shutdown, all the industries are likely to be affected massively.

How is the Govt Planning to Tackle the Issue?

According to experts, the Indian API industry was ahead of China in the 1990s.The advantages of free land, low cost utilities such as water, steam, power and negligible financing costs in China led to withering of the Indian API industry. 

Replying to a query, Jain said the Indian Pharma industry may also consider some of the European destinations for API supplies.

Meanwhile, IPA is searching for solutions for the temporary manufacturing of APIs in the country till the imports are resumed. VV Krishna Reddy, National President, Bulk Drug Manufacturers’ Association (BDMA) said, “The government is looking at developing API parks in India.” 

Jain said, “ The government wants to build and revive the industry, build capacity and expedite environmental clearances.” According to reports, the Ministry of Environment and Forest has assured expeditious clearances to all such reported proposals. 

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