Coronavirus Scare: Minister apprises parliament about the availability of drugs and shortages
Delhi: Through a written reply in the Rajya Sabha Shri. D.V. Sadananda Gowda, Minister for Chemicals & fertilizers informed the parliament that enough API's and formulations stock is available in the country. The minister clearly stated that till now there has been no shortage of API and formulations reported
"National Pharmaceutical Pricing Authority (NPPA) has informed that they have not received any reference regarding the shortage of Active Pharmaceutical Ingredients. The Indian Drugs Manufacturers Association (IDMA) has assured that its members have enough stocks of APIs and formulations," the minister stated
NPPA has also informed that they have not received any reference from pharma associations regarding the steep increase in the price of medicines due to outbreak of COVID-19 in China. The AIOCD AWACS has reported an increase in drug prices for the month ending February 2020 at 0.6 %. Further, NPPA has issued D.O dated 20.02.2020 to Chief Secretaries of all the States /UTs to monitor the production and availability of APIs and their formulations to prevent black marketing and hoarding and to ensure price compliance as per the Drugs (Prices Control) Order (DPCO,2013) under intimation to NPPA. NPPA has also written to Pharma Associations in the matter. NPPA is monitoring the situation regularly to ensure that the ceiling prices of essential medicines are not breached.
Further, Department of Pharmaceuticals has constituted a Committee under the chairmanship of Dr Eshwara Reddy, Joint Drugs Controller, Central Drugs Standard Control Organization (CDSCO) to address the issue of drug security in the country in the context of novel coronavirus outbreak in China. Based on the recommendations of the Committee, the department has issued necessary instructions to National Pharmaceutical Pricing Authority (NPPA) and Drugs Controller General of India (DCGI) to ensure an adequate supply of APIs and formulations at affordable prices in the market and to prevent black-marketing, illegal hoarding, creating artificial shortages in the country. In this regard, the Department of Pharmaceuticals has written to DGFT to restrict exports of 13 API and formulations made using these APIs.
The Indian Pharmaceutical industry is 3rd largest in the world in terms of volume and 14th largest in terms of value. India exported medicines worth US $14389 mn in Financial Year 2018-19. India also exported Bulk Drug/Drug Intermediates worth the US $ 3911mn in Financial Year 2018-19. However, the country also imports various Bulk Drugs/Active Pharmaceutical Ingredients (APIs) for producing medicines. Two-thirds of the total imports of Bulk Drugs/Drug Intermediates is from China. The imports from China are mainly due to economic considerations. The details of India's imports of Bulk Drugs/Drug Intermediates (including from China) are as under:
(US $ mn)
Imports from China
Per cent of Imports from China
The policies formulated by the Government from time to time are designed to minimize the country's dependence on imports and to give a fillip to indigenous manufacturing. In this direction, the Department of Pharmaceuticals has formulated a Scheme namely 'Assistance to Bulk Drug Industry for Common Facility Centre' for providing assistance to Bulk Drug Industry for Common Facility Centre in any upcoming bulk drug park promoted by State Governments/State Corporations.