API costs of sure medicine like fever and ache aid drug paracetamol and life-saving antibiotic Meropenem (additionally used for Covid), and anti-diabetic metformin, have greater than doubled to as excessive as 139%, 127% and 124% respectively, placing the highlight again on India’s close to total-dependence on the Dragon. Almost 70% of the nation’s APIs are imported from China, whereas the dependence is as excessive as 90% for sure life-saving antibiotics like cephalosporins, azithromycin and penicillin.
Since these medicines are below worth management, corporations are pressured to soak up the upper price, elevating questions on their viability. On this situation, over time, sure medicines may disappear from retail cabinets with corporations switching to high-value merchandise the place margins are protected. Within the wake of restricted availability, sufferers might need to bear the brunt and be pressured to shift to newer, steeply priced alternate options, trade specialists say.
Dependence on China for key APIs has been an ongoing concern for the trade, affecting essential uncooked supplies for manufacturing cardio-vascular, diabetes, antibiotics, anti-allergics and nutritional vitamins. However since Covid, the worth improve has been sharp. “API costs for a few of our merchandise have seen a pointy improve throughout the 12 months,” a GSK Pharma govt informed TOI. The manager added, “Since we now have long-term contracts for paracetamol tablets, the share improve has been 75%, and for paracetamol suspension 115% (roughly) over the past 12 months.”
Including to the trade’s woes, packaging and freight prices have additionally jumped manifold (see graphic). “Business has been going through an enormous price escalation as a consequence of imported uncooked supplies and excipients — in some medicine as steep as 200%. There have additionally been large will increase in freight charges, transportation and packaging prices,” Indian Drug Producers’ Affiliation ED Ashok Madan mentioned.
Reeling from this, the trade in March sought a one-time worth revision of 20% in ceiling costs throughout the board, whereas lately it requested for particular molecules. It has additionally mentioned that implementation of a revised Nationwide Record of Important Medicines be deferred until December to forestall impolite shocks, if any.