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COVID drug shortage: Experts discuss supply scenario, raw material price rise

Updated : May 11, 2021 16:21:19 IST

A report, as well as industry sources, have said that active pharmaceutical ingredient (API) prices of COVID-19 drugs have surged in the past month between 30-200 percent. Some raw materials, according to industry experts, have seen a rise of nearly 200 percent for key drugs.

Sudarshan Jain, secretary-general of Indian Pharmaceutical Alliance (IPA) and Ashok Madan, executive director of Indian Drug Manufacturers' Association (IDMA) in an interview with CNBC-TV18 talked on the matter.

Jain said, “The increase in the number of cases has got an impact on demand and hence there is an upsurge in paracetamol, azithromycin, ivermectin etc., therefore, an upsurge in demand, as well as issues of supplies and logistics, had an impact on the prices of some of the raw materials which are important for some of the products.”

“However, from a consumer/patient point of view, there is no increase in the price of the products because we operate with a market-based pricing system so the companies have to bear whatever the increase in the input cost is. So from a patient point of view, there is no change as far as prices of these products are concerned,” said Jain.

Meanwhile, Madan said, “There was a 15 days suspension of cargo flights by the Sichuan Airlines, which resumed from May 9 and now flights are coming from Sichuan as well as other places and there are other airlines also which are operating and the APIs are coming. So we do not foresee the shortages coming in. however, if these suspensions continue for a longer time then it’s a concern for us.”

“We do not see, in the present circumstance vis-à-vis last year, any shortages occurring because in the last year we could prevail when we had no shortages or no issues of any medicine not being available in any corner of the country, but at the moment there is an upsurge because of the COVID cases and demand for certain medicines which hitherto were not there has risen manifold and that might be leading to an issue that there might be shortages, but things are being taken care and production capacities are being ramped and we are sure we will be able to go ahead with this,” said Madan.

For the entire discussion, watch the video
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