EBM News
EBM News

Coronavirus outbreak: API imports from China likely to be affected

HYDERABAD: The Indian pharma industry is on the edge and could feel the effects of Coronavirus, believe experts.

The industry imports raw materials from China and though it’s currently managing with buffer stocks, the situation is likely to get dire if conditions worsen in China.

“We haven’t pressed the panic button, but if the stalemate continues, we don’t know how the situation will be,” said Udaya Bhasker, director-general, Pharmexcil.

Another trade body, the Indian Pharmaceutical Alliance (IPA) confirmed that domestic companies have enough stocks of active pharmaceutical ingredient (APIs) for two to three months.Stating that the situation (raw material import from China) was rather grim, IPA secretary general Sudarshan Jain said they were in touch with the Centre, seeking faster environmental clearances for some of the API manufacturing units so that dependence on China was reduced.

India imports about Rs 17,000 crore worth of APIs from China. “It is a very critical and serious situation. No one has got the full knowledge of what is happening. We have inventories for two to three months,” he said.

China has extended Lunar holidays and companies hope the situation may ease from March first week. “We are monitoring the situation on a daily basis,” he said adding that domestic generics markers may also consider other countries to source API supplies.

‘Outbreak hasn’t affected exports’

As things stand today, Indian pharmaceutical exports are on course to touch $22 billion by FY21, notwithstanding the outbreak of Coronavirus in China, according to the Pharmaceutical Export Promotion Council (Pharmexcil), which functions under the Ministry of Commerce and Industry.

In fact, between April and January, exports growth remained healthy at about 12 per cent and have touched $17.5 billion.

Similarly, exports to China too registered a growth of 35 per cent till date during the current fiscal, including around 12 per cent in January alone.

“We were worried that things may get disturbed and that our exports may get hampered…but exports are growing as per expectations,” said Uday Bhasker, director-general, Pharmexcil