- Azithromycin, an antibiotic used in bacterial infections, rose by 70%
- India imports up to 80% of pharma ingredients from China
- Production in China stopped due to coronavirus, so imports into India were affected
The impact of increasing coronavirus infection is now visible in India along with China. According to a Bloomberg report, the price of paracetamol drugs in India increased by 40% due to supply disruptions from China. Zydus Cadila Chairman Pankaj R Patel says that prices of azithromycin, an antibiotic used to treat bacterial infections, have gone up by 70%.
The price of paracetamol drugs in India increased by 40% due
Patel said that if supply does not start from China by the first week of next month, then there may be a shortage of ingredients in the entire pharma industry.
China’s dependence over three years rose 23%
India’s dependence on China for the import of active pharmaceuticals ingredients (APIs) is high. APIs are the most important component to make any drug. According to the Directorate General of Commercial Intelligence and Statistics, in 2016-17, India imported Rs 19,653.25 crore into this API segment, with China holding 66.69%. India’s imports stood at Rs 21,481 crore during 2017-18 and China’s share increased to 68.36%. API and bulk drug imports to Rs 25,552 crore in 2018-19. Since the 2016-17, India’s dependence on China in the pharma sector has increased by 23%.
Why dependence on China?
According to the Department of Pharmaceuticals under the Ministry of Chemicals and Fertilizers, India imports APIs and bulk drugs from China for cost and economic reasons. API and bulk drugs coming from China in terms of cost are beneficial for Indian pharma manufacturers. People in the pharma industry say that the cost of API production in China is 20-30% lower than in India. API production units in India are operating up to 30% of their capacity while API production units in China are operating up to 70% of their capacity. Due to very low-profit margins on API manufacturing in India, the Indian pharma industry imports APIs from China and manufactures and exports medicines to other countries.
India is the largest market for generic drugs in the world
Factories in China are closed due to coronavirus infection. Due to this, suppliers have been affected worldwide. Zydus Cadila chairman Pankaj R Patel says that prices of active pharmaceuticals ingredients may increase rapidly in the coming years. India is the largest market for generic drugs in the world. 12% of the manufacturing sites supplying drugs to the US market are in India. India imports up to 80% of many products of pharma ingredients.