India asks China to keep prices stable as costs for medical supplies surge

Priyanka Chauhan, India’s Consul General in Hong Kong.   | Photo Credit: Twitter/@CGIHongKong

India has asked Chinese authorities to ensure prices for key medical supplies remain stable as costs for oxygen concentrators and other critical goods have surged on the back of rising demand.

“Our expectation at this point is that the supply chain should remain open and product prices should remain stable,” Priyanka Chauhan, India’s Consul General in Hong Kong, told the South China Morning Post.

“Even if there is a little bit of supply demand pressure, there has to be some stability and predictability to product prices,” Ms. Chauhan said. “And there has to be a sense of governmental level support and efforts. I don’t have the information as to how much influence the Chinese government can have in this matter but if they can, then it would be welcome.”

Chinese media are reporting that oxygen concentrators that were listed as selling for 1,000 Yuan (around ₹11,000) on Chinese e-commerce websites such as Alibaba’s Taobao are now selling for four or five times that amount and the final cost borne by individual buyers once the goods are sold in India is even higher.

Ms. Chauhan “appreciated the need for travel bans based on public health concerns, but added that India was asking China to facilitate cargo flights so that supplies could be delivered”, the South China Morning Post reported, adding that “state-owned Sichuan Airlines Logistics suspended cargo flights to India for 15 days last month in response to the surge, which the Pharmaceuticals Export Promotion Council of India warned would have a cascading effect on supply chains.”

“Unreasonable control should be avoided, and transport linkages should be maintained,” she said, adding that a phone call between the two foreign ministers had helped with some approvals but flights had not yet returned to the same frequency as earlier.

Since April, orders for at least 40,000 oxygen concentrators have been placed by Indian companies with Chinese firms, of which 21,000 have so far been delivered, along with more than 5,000 ventilators, 21 million face masks and 3,800 tons of medicines, according to Chinese customs figures. On Sunday, a first batch of 100 oxygen concentrators and 40 ventilators donated by the Red Cross Society of China arrived on a cargo flight from China.

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Printable version | Jun 21, 2021 11:02:18 PM |

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