India has imposed export restrictions on Active Pharmaceutical Ingredients (API) – the basic building block of medicine – to insulate against scarce Chinese supplies in the wake of the coronavirus spread.
The Directorate General of Foreign Trade (DGFT) under the Indian Commerce Ministry on Tuesday imposed export restrictions on 13 APIs.
According to the notification export restriction has been imposed on Paracetamol, Tinidazole, Metronidazole, Acyclovir, Vitamin B1, Vitamin B6, Vitamin B12, and Progesterone, among others with “immediate effect”.
Indian drug makers import a majority of drug APIs from China.
According to the Directorate General of Commercial Intelligence and Statistics, in 2016-17 India imported bulk drugs worth $2.7 billion of which at least 66.69 percent were imported from China. In 2017-18, the dependency on China for APIs grew even further with the Chinese bulk drugs accounting for 68.36 percent of the total $2.9 billion worth of bulk drug imports.
The decision by the Indian Commerce ministry was taken due to concerns over the impact on supply of drug raw materials from China.
Two fresh cases of coronavirus were confirmed in India on Monday. The infected persons had caught the virus in Italy and Dubai. Three people who contracted the virus last month in Kerala have now recovered.