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India considering export restrictions on antibiotics due to coronavirus

Published on 17/02/20 at 10:43am

The Indian government is considering an export ban on antibiotics, vitamins and hormones due to the lockdown of Hubei province, the epicenter of the coronavirus and a major supplier of materials for pharmaceutical ingredients.

This is mainly due to concerns of a drug shortage in India. The ban was assessed by an eight-member expert committee that has been asked by the government to assess the availability of medicines in the country. They have suggested imposing export restrictions on 12 drugs including vitamins like B1, B2 and B6, antibiotics like chloramphenicol, neomycin and clindamycin and hormones like progesterone.

The committee also urged states to invoke the Essential Commodities Act, which is to ensure the supply of certain commodities like medicine and would crack down on hoarding or blackmarketing where people would take advantage of the shortages to price gouge.

An official who is part of the committee said: “We have gathered that there is enough inventory to continue for at least the next two months. However, since Hubei and Shandong are the two provinces that supplies 20-25% of the raw material, if the lockdown continues for another 15 days, there may be a cascading effect, we have recommended a temporary export restriction on 12 drugs which are completely dependent on supplies from these two provinces.”

Indian imports 80-85%of active pharmaceutical ingredients from China, but some of the major pharma companies in India do manufacture ingredients locally.

Conor Kavanagh

 

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