The coronavirus outbreak has started to hit India’s pharmaceutical sector, with the prices of key ingredients rising. The latest price moves have nudged the government into action, which will hold a series of meetings with top sectoral executives beginning next week.
According to the data available with Pharmaceutical Export Promotion Council (Pharmexcil), the cost of paracetamol has gone up from Rs 250-300 kg to 400-450 kg. “Similarly, ‘montelukast sodium’ (an anti-asthma drug) is trading between Rs 52,000 and Rs 58,000 per kg, compared with Rs 33,000-38,000 per kg a few months ago,” said Dinesh Dua, chairman, Pharmexcil, which functions under the Ministry of Commerce and Industry.
Similarly, the prices of vitamins and penicillin have shot up 40-50%. “The industry also complained that all vitamins were trading at double or triple the price,” Dua said.
As pharmaceutical companies face the likelihood of disruptions due to extended factory closures in China, the government think-tank Niti Aayog has called a high-level meeting with top drug makers and policy makers to discuss options for domestic manufacturers dependent on China for Active Pharmaceutical Ingredients (APIs). Top drug makers including Dr Reddy’s, LupinNSE -1.31 %, GlenmarkNSE -1.29 %, Mylan, Zydus healthcare, Pfizer, and Biocon will be attending the meeting, scheduled to be held on February 19.