Published On: Wed, Feb 19th, 2020

Niti Aayog holds meeting with pharma sector on impact of coronavirus

New Delhi: The Niti Aayog on Wednesday held a meeting with the captains of industry in the pharmaceutical sector to discuss the impact of disruption in supplies of active pharmaceutical ingredients (APIs) following the coronavirus outbreak in China.

NITI Aayog CEO Amitabh Kant

According to sources, hosts of measures were discussed aimed at boosting domestic manufacturing of APIs to reduce dependence on imports of the APIs from China.

The meeting was chaired by Niti Aayog CEO Amitabh Kant and attended by Pharmaceutical Department Secretary P D Vaghela and Biocon Chairperson and Managing Director Kiran Mazumdar Shaw, among others.

“Fruitful, constructive & positive meeting with captains of industry in pharmaceutical sector to discuss the options for domestic manufacturing of critical APIs on which India is import dependent. Consensus arrived at on a range of policy measures for creating ecosystem in India,” Kant said in a tweet after the meeting.

According to the sources, Kant told industry captains that they should try to become globally competitive to beat China that accounted for 67.56 per cent of the total imports of bulk drugs and drug intermediates at USD 2,405.42 million to India in 2018-19.

Zydus Group Chairman Pankaj Patel had on Tuesday said that the prices of the key pharmaceutical ingredients could rise if the coronavirus situation in China does not improve soon.

Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman had on Tuesday met the representatives of various sectors, including pharmaceuticals, textiles, chemicals, electronics and IT hardware, solar, auto, surgical equipments, and paints, to review the situation following the outbreak of the deadly virus in China.

She had said the government would soon announce measures to deal with the impact of the coronavirus outbreak on the domestic industry.

Describing pharmaceutical, chemical and solar equipment sectors as the worst affected, the finance minister had said disruptions are visible in these due to delay in shipment.

The Department of Pharmaceuticals has already constituted a high-level panel to assess the impact of the outbreak of the deadly virus in China on the supply of APIs in India.

Official sources had said that Indian drugmakers have told the high-level committee that they currently have stocks for the next two-three months.

There has been no supply from the neighbouring country for the past 20-25 days, mainly due to Chinese New Year holidays, sources had said.

India has a high dependence on China for fermentation-based APIs and intermediates.

Companies have been maintaining 2-3 months inventory of these APIs and intermediates, Indian Pharmaceutical Alliance (IPA) Secretary General Sudarshan Jain had earlier said.

India imports bulk drugs and APIs for producing medicines, including certain essential medicines, from China.


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