Industry

Prices of key pharma ingredients may rise if virus impact prolongs

Representational image only.

Representational image only.  

No supply from China for past 25 days.

The prices of key pharmaceutical ingredients could rise if the COVID-19 situation in China does not improve soon, a top company official said on Tuesday.

China accounted for 67.56% of total imports of bulk drugs and drug intermediates at $2,405.42 million to India in 2018-19.

“The prices of active pharmaceutical ingredients (APIs) could increase if the situation in China does not improve soon,” Zydus Group Chairman Pankaj Patel said.

Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman on Tuesday met representatives of various sectors, including pharmaceuticals, textiles, chemicals, electronics and IT hardware, solar, auto, surgical equipments, and paints, to review the situation following the outbreak of the deadly virus in China.

She said the government will soon announce measures to deal with the impact of the virus outbreak on the domestic industry.

Describing pharma, chemical and solar equipment sectors as worst affected, the Minister said disruptions are visible in these due to delay in shipments.

‘No price-rise concerns’

“There are no concerns about price rise so far due to coronavirus [COVID-19],” she added. She also said there were no reports of shortage of medicines or medical equipment; instead, the pharmaceutical industry was asking for lifting of the ban on exports of certain items.

The Department of Pharmaceuticals (DoP) has already constituted a high-level panel to assess the impact of the outbreak of the deadly virus in China on the supply of APIs in India.

According to official sources, Indian drugmakers have informed the high-level committee that they presently have stocks for the next two to three months.

There has been no supply from the neighbouring country for the last 20-25 days, mainly due to Chinese New Year holidays, sources said. The prices of medicines are monitored by the government, and apart from the essential medicines whose prices are fixed by the government, companies are allowed to hike prices of the remaining drugs by only up to 10% in a year.

Antibiotics, vitamins

India has a high dependence on fermentation-based APIs / intermediates namely antibiotics and vitamins. Companies have been maintaining 2-3 months inventory of these APIs and intermediates, Indian Pharmaceutical Alliance (IPA) Secretary General Sudarshan Jain had earlier said.

India imports bulk drugs/APIs for producing medicines, including certain essential medicines, from its Asian neighbour.

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Printable version | Apr 3, 2020 11:37:42 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/business/Industry/prices-of-key-pharma-ingredients-may-rise-if-virus-impact-prolongs/article30853906.ece

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