COVID-19: US asks India to lift restrictions on export of pharmaceutical ingredients
Washington: The United States officials are reportedly in contact with India asking the country to lift restrictions to give the US access to pharmaceutical ingredients as demand in America surge due to coronavirus pandemic.
The governments of the two countries are holding discussions which are aimed at easing newly imposed restrictions on pharmaceutical ingredients' exports from India, NBC News reported citing three sources familiar with the matter. The pharmaceutical ingredients are needed to produce a range of drugs.
India imposed restrictions to ensure it has medicine needed to handle the crises within the country, the sources said. India is the world's leading supplier of generic drugs and is a key source for active pharmaceutical ingredients.
"What do they have available for purchase? This is something the administration is trying to work through with the Indians," the aide, who was not authorized to speak on the record, told NBC News.
When asked about the US request to India, a State Department spokesperson said, "We are collaborating to try to ensure that critical manufacturing and supply chains for pharmaceuticals, healthcare technology, and personal protective equipment remain open even as large portions of our countries are shut down to reduce the risk of transmission."
Coronavirus cases are continuing to surge giving rise to fears of a potential US drug supply shortage prompted by the coronavirus outbreak.
The number of novel coronavirus (COVID-19) cases within the United States surpassed 150,000 and the death toll has reached 2828, according to Johns Hopkins University. India's embassy in Washington did not respond to a request for comment.