Prices of paracetamol that is commonly used as an analgesic have gone up by 40 per cent due to the coronavirus outbreak in China. The cost of an antibiotic used to treat several bacterial infections, azithromycin, has also risen by approximately 70 per cent, as mentioned by Pankaj R Patel, chairman of Zydus Cadila, as mentioned in a report in Bloomberg. The pharma sector in India could possibly be faced with shortages in finished drug formulations from April in case the supply chains are not restored by the first week of March.
Coronavirus has claimed more than 1,700 lives in China as of now. The outbreak has severely disrupted supply chains and also led to the increase in prices of commodities like smartphones and TVs. While Chinese manufacturers are pacing back to normalcy slowly and steadily, there still remains uncertainty with regards to imports of some raw and intermediate goods from China to India.
The Chinese government has extended the New Year Holidays till mid-February. Earlier, these holidays were extended from January 25 to February 3. If these holidays get extended further, then the Indian formulation manufacturers which use these ingredients that manufacture tablets are likely to be affected by this shutdown.
The President, API Plus and Global TB at Lupin , Naresh Gupta one of the leading Indian pharma companies, says, "While there could be concerns around the likely immediate impact for smaller units but if the holidays get prolong and there is increased uncertainty then it could start impacting larger units too." He further adds, "though China had dominance in fermentation-based ingredient making, we have fortunately retained this in treatment of tuberculosis despite this also being fermentation-based. For instance, take rifampicin that Lupin makes to treat TB."