Date: 05-Mar-2020

How long will India's coronavirus medicines hold out? Here's the latest data

The number of coronavirus cases in India is steadily rising. With the number of confirmed cases in the country now at 28, the government has brought in a range of urgent measures to track and curb the spread of the deadly virus. A committee formed by the government has assured that India need not worry about drug shortages for some time to come. The committee, in its report, has said that the present stock-in-hand of the Active Pharmaceutical Ingredients (APIs) may be sufficient for 2 to 3 months to manufacture formulations. Yesterday, after a meeting at the Department of Pharmaceuticals, India restricted export of about 26 APIs and formulations including antibiotics, vitamins and hormones — with immediate effect, as the government explores measures to ensure there is no shortage of drugs in India due to the lockdown in China’s Hubei’s province, the epicentre of the coronavirus outbreak and also a major source of raw material or APIs. The government is also taking steps to ensure adequate supply of APIs and formulations are available at affordable prices in the market and to prevent black-marketing, illegal hoarding, creating artificial shortages in the country. There are, however, no restrictions on the import of APIs from China. Most of the Chinese companies manufacturing pharmaceutical ingredients (excluding those in Hubei province) have now resumed operations partially and expected to resume fully by end of March. "The Chinese companies are willing to export to India, however logistics sector has not yet resumed operations fully," the government document said. The Department of Pharmaceuticals constituted a committee under the chairmanship of Dr. Eshwara Reddy, Joint Drugs Controller, Central Drugs Standard Control Organization (CDSCO) to address the issues of drug security in the country. The deadly coronavirus has now affected twenty eight people in India, with the number expected to rise. Fourteen Italian tourists and their tour driver tested positive for the virus on Wednesday. Earlier in the week, two Indians — one in Telangana and the other in the national capital — had tested positive.