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How India’s production of diabetes drugs, antibiotics could be hit by prolonged coronavirus crisis?

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New Delhi, Feb 09: If the situation in the neighbouring China due to deadly coronavirus does not improve soon, the supply of raw materials to produce top-selling antibiotics, anti-diabetic medicines and commonly used paracetamol could be hit in India.

However, Indian pharma firms are closely monitoring the outbreak of coronavirus in China because it is heavily dependent on China for components used to make products across industries, including essential medicines.

How India’s production of diabetes drugs, antibiotics could be hit by prolonged coronavirus crisis?

Its imports from China IS accounted for 67.56 per cent of total bulk drugs and drug intermediates in 2018-19 at USD 2,405.42 million.

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"The situation is being closely monitored by all companies. The government is seized of the issue and all are working in an integrated way to deal with the situation." Indian Pharmaceutical Alliance (IPA) Secretary General Sudarshan Jain told PTI.

The areas being looked into are close monitoring of the developments, inventory of critical APIs / intermediates, evaluation of alternate sources where possible and regulatory approvals for environmental clearance for certain APIs where capacity is available, he added.

"India has a high dependence on fermentation-based APIs/ Intermediates namely antibiotics and vitamins. Companies have been maintaining 2-3 months inventory of these APIs and Intermediates," Jain said.

In similar vein, a Sanofi India spokesperson said: "It is too soon to predict any impact that the coronavirus outbreak might have. We are closely monitoring the situation to ensure we have no discontinuity in supply." India imports bulk drugs/active pharmaceutical ingredients (APIs) for producing medicines including certain essential medicines from China.

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The government has earlier said most of the imports of the bulk drugs and APIs are being done because of economic considerations.

The majority of the production units for bulk drugs are situated in Zhejiang province in China, which is 600 km away from the city of Wuhan, the epicentre of the coronavirus outbreak. However, the issue now is that the scare has gone beyond Wuhan and most are on alert.

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