Pharma industry faces API shortage: Coronavirus fallout

Pharma industry faces API shortage: Coronavirus fallout

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Medicine
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CHANDIGARH: Pharmaceutical manufacturing companies in Himachal Pradesh are facing a shortage of Active Pharmaceuticals ingredients (RMI) from China following the coronavirus outbreak though there is no disruption in the availability of medicines in the market at present.

Himachal Drug Manufacturers Association president Dr Rajesh Gupta says that the industry is dependent on imports from China on a large scale and due to prolonged delay in procuring raw material, there is apprehension that manufacturing would be hit.

“First there was the Chinese New Year and there was no supply for a fortnight in January. Now this virus outbreak has hampered the import of raw material,” he said.

Manufacturers are dependent on China for 85% of the imports, he said. “They keep an inventory of more than 30 days so production has not stopped but the crisis can loom if the situation continues to be the same after March,” he added.

Also read: Country’s dependence on imports of antibiotic raw materials

PRICES GO UP

Rajesh Bansal, the owner of Baddi-based BRD Pharma, said that the price of Paracetamol’s active pharmaceutical ingredient a month ago was between Rs 270 and Rs 275 a kg but it has now increased to Rs 400 a kg.

Similarly, the raw material of antibiotic Azithromycin that cost Rs 7,500 a kg has now increased to Rs 10,500 kg.

Uma Shankar, the owner of Dhanvantari Herbal, Baddi, said: “Vials and packing material are also imported from China and traders have increased their prices after the coronavirus outbreak.”

NO NEED TO PANIC

The Chemist Association of Chandigarh has cautioned people against panicking as medicine stocks for three months are available in the market.

Association general secretary Vinay Jain says, “Stocks are available for at least three months at different levels so there’s no need to panic. Pharma is a big market and people in the industry from the manufacturer to the retailer keep stocks for a minimum of three months so there’s no shortage of medicines in the region.”

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