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Coronavirus: An opportunity for India to meet antibiotics shortfall, says Biocon

Updated : February 10, 2020 06:38 PM IST

A high-level committee constituted by the Department of Pharmaceuticals is considering a restriction on exports including some crucial antibiotics and vitamins in light of the coronavirus outbreak.

Kiran Mazumdar Shaw, CMD of Biocon, said there is a risk of global shortage of antibiotics. “There is a global concern about the impact of coronavirus on drug supply because of dependence on China for a number of antibiotics and drug intermediates. Wuhan is a big centre for producing many of these drug intermediates and APIs,” she added.

“The former US FDA commissioner Scott Gottlieb has raised concerns about a global short supply of antibiotics. In fact, he suggested that India should fill this gap by producing drug intermediates and antibiotics. So this is an opportunity for India especially when there is going to be an expedited review by the US FDA and other regulators because of this global crisis,” added Shaw.

She further said most companies have raw material supplies for only 2-3 months and the countries should be mentally prepared for 6-9 months of crisis.

Talking about Biocon, she said, “Fortunately many of our small molecule APIs are fermentation based and for them, we have got very little reliance on external imports. But there are a few products where we rely on Chinese intermediates.”
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