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Coronavirus concerns: Need to take immediate steps to address possible shortages if crisis extends, says Biocon

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Coronavirus concerns: Need to take immediate steps to address possible shortages if crisis extends, says Biocon

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Going forward we need to focus on producing many of our requirements at scale and we need to regain our lost position in terms of the active pharmaceutical ingredients (APIs) and even intermediate production,” said Biocon's Kiran Mazumdar Shaw.

Various stakeholders of the pharmaceutical industry along with Kiran Mazumdar Shaw, CMD, Biocon met government officials yesterday to discuss the supply concerns if any due to coronavirus outbreak.

“We had a very useful meeting yesterday chaired by Amitabh Kant. We had all the various stakeholders from industry and government involved and we did a fairly good assessment of what the state of preparedness should be,”  said Mazumdar Shaw in an interview with CNBC-TV18.
“At this point in time, I do believe that we are quite safe for the next several months but we all realise that we have to basically make sure that we take some immediate steps to start addressing possible shortages if this coronavirus crisis extends beyond six months," she said, adding that the government said they would do everything to free up the hurdles faced either by closed plants or existing plants, which wish to produce certain products that they don’t currently produce in case the crisis extends.
“Going forward we need to focus on producing many of our requirements at scale and we need to regain our lost position in terms of the active pharmaceutical ingredients (APIs) and even intermediate production,” said Mazumdar Shaw.
Sudarshan Jain, secretary general of Indian Pharmaceutical Alliance had told CNBC-TV18 that as of now there was no supply disruption and they were good at least for the next four-five months, so there won’t be any impact on drugs. However, he mentioned that raw material prices could go up further.
When asked about the situation with regards to supply and raw material prices, Mazumdar Shaw said, “That is a pretty realistic statement. If this continues beyond six months, we do have to worry about the impact. For now, we are okay. I also believe that because of this crisis, prices are going to go up in many cases but that is okay because even if the prices do go up, they won’t significantly impact drug prices.”
“India has a huge opportunity and this should not be a lost opportunity because there are opportunities in many sectors but pharmaceutical sector is a big one and we should focus on that,” she further mentioned.
Talking specifically on Trastuzumab, she said, “We are very gung-ho on this product. We have had a very successful launch with Pegfilgrastim, and Mylan is very confident that it can repeat that success with Trastuzumab as well. I believe we should be able to have a very successful launch and market share.”
When asked about inspections and observations, she said, “We have to understand that USFDA or any regulatory inspections are a way of life for us and with every inspector there are going to be observations and we have to address these observations through plans. So, every company should get used to that. We look at it as a continual improvement opportunity for the company."
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