Published On: Tue, Feb 18th, 2020

India considers export ban on critical drugs amid fears that coronavirus epidemic could lead to medicine shortages

A dozen essential medicines could face export restrictions in India, as New Delhi braces itself for the possibility of drug shortages due to the deadly coronavirus outbreak in China.

An eight-member committee tasked with assessing the country’s medical preparedness in the wake of the epidemic has recommended placing an export ban on 12 drugs, mainly antibiotics, vitamins and hormones. The panel of experts also urged New Delhi to take measures to dissuade the public from creating artificial shortages through hoarding.

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FILE PHOTO: People walk past a chemist's shop at a market in Mumbai, India June 25, 2015.
Indian pharma threatened by coronavirus outbreak that could lead to shortage of Chinese drug imports

India’s pharmaceutical industry previously raised concerns that the coronavirus epidemic could impact the supply of ingredients and drugs imported from China. A shortage of Chinese drugs would have an immediate effect on India’s pharmaceutical industry, as China accounted for some 68 percent of total imports for bulk drugs and ingredients in 2018-2019.

The virus has spread across the globe, infecting more than 70,000 people in mainland China alone. Around 1,700 people have died worldwide from the virus.

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