No panic on coronavirus drugs availability

New Delhi: The Ministry of Chemicals and Fertilisers said on Tuesday that as far as drugs for coronavirus are concerned, there is no need to panic about their security.

The Department of Pharmaceuticals under the Ministry has constituted a committee under the chairmanship of Eshwara Reddy, Joint Drugs Controller, Central Drugs Standard Control Organization (CDSCO), to address the issues of drug security in the country in the context of novel coronavirus outbreak in China.

The committee in its report has mentioned that the present stock-in hand of the APIs may be sufficient for 2 to 3 months to manufacture formulations and also give certain recommendations. The committee has emphasised that there is no need to panic as far as drug security is concerned.

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Instructions have been issued to the National Pharmaceutical Pricing Authority (NPPA), Drugs Controller General of India (DCGI) and state governments to ensure adequate supply of APIs and formulations at affordable prices in the market and to prevent black-marketing, illegal hoarding or creating artificial shortages in the country.

NPPA has also written to Chief Secretaries of the states with copies to Principal Secretaries, Health, and State Drug Controllers, requesting them to closely monitor the production and availability of APIs and formulations to prevent black marketing and hoarding in their respective states and UTs.

They have also been asked to ensure that there is no violation of provisions of Drugs (Prices Control) Order, 2013 with regard to compliance of ceiling prices/permissible increase in prices of scheduled/non-scheduled formulations, respectively.

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In this regard, the Department of Pharmaceuticals has written to DGFT to restrict exports of 13 APIs and formulations made using these APIs. These APIs are primarily made in China’s Hubei province.

As per the latest available information, most of the Chinese companies manufacturing pharmaceutical ingredients (excluding those in Hubei province) have now resumed operations partially and are expected to resume fully by the end of March.

There are no restrictions on the export of APIs from China. The Chinese companies are willing to export to India. However, the logistics sector has not yet resumed operations fully.

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