Alarmed by the coronavirus outbreak leading to lock downs in China resulting in stoppage of active pharmaceutical ingredients‘ (API) supply to India.
The Department of Pharmaceuticals (DoP) has called a meeting of representatives of drug industry on February 19 to take stock of excessive dependence of the country on China for APIs and key intermediates supply and plan to develop API parks in the country.
In 2018-19, India imported bulk drugs and intermediates worth US$ 2.4 billion from China. In 2017-18 the import of bulk drugs and intermediates from China to India stood at US$ 2,055.94 million.
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At present, domestic drug makers have an inventory for a couple of months and pharmaceutical companies in Chinese regions mildly affected by coronavirus have resumed operation, except Wuhan region, the epicenter of coronavirus outbreak.
The panic triggered by the spread of the coronavirus and extended shutdown in China have led to a steep rise in prices of several critical APIs in the country since January.
The prices of nimesulide, paracetamol, azithromycin, chloramphenicol, clav avicel, amoxycillin, tinidazole, ornidazole, ciprofloxacin, dexamethasone sodium, clav syloid, diclofenac sodium etc have gone up by 167%, 72%, 44%, 17%, 36%, 48%, 61%, 73%, 40%, 45%, 38%, 28% respectively.
Upset with excessive rise in prices of APIs, a manufacturer on condition of anonymity said the DoP should take action against traders charging margin more than 15 per cent for APIs.
Currently, there is no major disruption in API supply in the wake of coronavirus outbreak in China.
There are certain products which are in short supply such as nimesulide but we are closely looking into the situation.
As of now drug manufacturers have stock for short term, said Vinod Kalani, vice chairman, Confederation of Indian Pharmaceutical Industry (CIPI).
An eight-member panel has been set up by the DoP under chairmanship of Drugs Controller General of India (DCGI) recently to deal with repercussions of coronavirus outbreak on supply of Chinese APIs in India.