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Coronavirus Scare: Govt puts export restrictions on 26 pharma ingredients, medicines


New Delhi, Mar 03: The government on Tuesday put export restrictions on 26 pharma ingredients and medicines, including paracetamol, vitamin B1 and B12, amid the coronavirus outbreak in China, according to a government notification on Tuesday.

With this, export of these active pharmaceutical ingredients (APIs) and formulations requires licence from the Directorate General of Foreign Trade (DGFT), an arm of the commerce ministry.

Coronavirus Scare: Govt puts export restrictions on 26 pharma ingredients, medicines

Earlier, there were no restrictions on outbound shipments of these products.

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'Export of specified APIs and formulations made from these APIs ...is hereby restricted with immediate effect and till further orders,' the DGFT said in the notification.

APIs are a raw material for pharmaceuticals.

The announcement assumes significance on account of concerns over further spread of deadly coronavirus. Although India is heavily import dependent for APIs from China, it exports a limited quantity of pharma ingredients.

India has exported APIs worth about USD 225 million last year.

The country's API imports stood at around USD 3.5 billion per year. Out of this, about USD 2.5 billion is from China.

Restrictions on the imports are fundamental as there would be an increase in demand for these products in the country.

Paracetamol, vitamin B1, B6 and B12, the other APIs and formulations over which the export restrictions have been imposed include tinidazole, metronidazole, acyclovir, progesterone, chloramphenicol, ornidazole, formulations made of chloramphenicol, formulations made of clindamycin salts, formulations made of neomycin, and formulations made of paracetamol.

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India on Monday reported two new cases of the novel coronavirus, including one from the national capital. The outbreak has killed more than 3,000 people globally.

Earlier in February, the Department of Pharmaceuticals (DoP) had asked the DGFT to issue orders restricting export of 12 APIs and formulations in the wake of the coronavirus outbreak.

The APIs and formulations included common antibiotics and vitamins.

A high-level committee formed by the DoP under the chemicals and fertilisers ministry to monitor supply of raw materials for drugs from China had recommended restrictions on export of these items.

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