India Requested to Ease Ban On Exports Of Pharmaceutical Products
Due to the effects of the novel coronavirus pandemic spreading exponentially, countries are citing an acute shortage of a range of drugs, and several countries across continents have requested India to ease the ban on pharmaceutical products. These countries include the UAE, SAARC (South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation) and the US. India is the leading producer of active pharmaceutical ingredients (APIs) and generic drugs in the world.
APIs are used in the manufacturing of several drugs including anti-malarial drugs, pain-killers, sedatives like fentanyl, albuterol or inhalers, and more.
The government banned the export of 26 API and drug formulations as the COVID-19 cases in India started climbing up in March. If the export continued, there could be a shortage of medicines in India and it could hamper its fight to contain the pandemic in the country, feared the experts in India.
The export of hydroxychloroquine, an anti-malarial drug is also banned in India. This medicine is being administered to healthcare workers treating the patients infected with Covid-19. India has banned the export of all kinds of ventilators, sanitizers, medical equipment such as breathing devices, oxygen therapy apparatus and respiratory apparatus by March 24.
The export of APIs and hydroxy-chloroquine was aimed at boosting supply in domestic hospitals but nations across continents were hit hard by this decision. Countries have formally requested India to allow export of hydroxychloroquine, countries including Indonesia, UAE and SAARC countries. Used in the treatment of several diseases, this drug is a multipurpose drug.
At a time when Chinese drug companies were closed, the ban on the export of APIs and medical equipment came, they have started opening up now. However, there have been complaints about the quality of equipment in the reports about supplies made by Chinese pharmaceutical companies.
In the view of an export ban by India, many countries’ decision-makers have doubts in their minds about the supply of APIs and other key drugs that they may wish to purchase from China.
There is also a business threat posed to Indian companies in this situation. In a meeting between the Union Commerce Minister Piyush Goyal and the members of Indian industries, the industry leaders requested the government allow export because now that the Chinese companies are resuming their operation in the post-Covid-19 situation, they face the possibility of losing the markets.
In order to strike a balance between the challenges of trade and healthcare, some reports suggest that the government may ease the export of some of the drugs, equipment, and APIs. India has also spoken about a united fight by the international community against the Covid-19 pandemic, additionally.