BENGALURU/NEW DELHI (Reuters) – India, the world’s main supplier of generic drugs, on Tuesday restricted the export of 26 pharmaceutical ingredients and drugs made from them, including paracetamol, as concern mounted the coronavirus outbreak could turn into a pandemic.
FILE PHOTO: Medical staff with protective clothing are seen inside a ward specialised in receiving any person who may have been infected with coronavirus, at the Rajiv Ghandhi Government General hospital in Chennai, India, January 29, 2020. REUTERS/P. Ravikumar
Indian pharma companies get almost 70% of the active pharmaceutical ingredients (APIs) for their medicines from China.
Already, the coronavirus outbreak has disrupted businesses dependent on Chinese supplies and industry professionals say Indian generic drugmakers are likely to face supply shortages from China if the epidemic drags on.
“Export of specified APIs and formulations made from these APIs… is hereby ‘restricted’ with immediate effect and till further orders,” the Director General of Foreign Trade said in a statement here without explaining the extent of the restrictions.
The list given by the government included 26 APIs and formulations, which amount to 10% of all exports.
“Irrespective of the ban (restrictions), some of these molecules may face shortages for the next couple of months,” Dinesh Dua, chairman, Pharmaceuticals Export Promotion Council of India (pharmexcil), told Reuters.
The council falls under the federal commerce ministry.
“If coronavirus is not contained, then in that case there could be acute shortages,” Dua said.
Separately, the government said on Tuesday it had detected “high viral load” in six people who had been in contact with a patient who contracted the coronavirus in the capital New Delhi.
The people have been kept in isolation and their samples are being sent to India’s National Institute of Virology for confirmation, the government said in a statement here
On Monday, India reported three new cases of coronavirus, including an Italian national in the western Indian state of Rajasthan. The patient in New Delhi was being closely monitored but stable, the government said.
The Indian ministry of health did not immediately give further details on the cases when contacted by Reuters.
Reporting by Chris Thomas in Bengaluru and Neha Dasgupta in New Delhi; Additional reporting by Derek Francisediting by Barbara Lewis
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