India, which is just about emerging out of a deadly second wave of Covid-19, is now battling with a steep rise in the cost of active pharmaceutical ingredients (API). In certain cases, the price rise is as high as 139 percent since the pre-pandemic levels, says a report published in The Economic Times.
Nearly 70 percent of India’s APIs are imported from China, and the dependence is as high as 90 percent for antibiotics like cephalosporins, azithromycin and penicillin.“The overall increase, averaging nearly 50 percent in the wake of high-priced imports and supply disruptions from China, have raised doubts on the availability of drugs and could lead to shortages, particularly of those that are key in Covid therapy,” says the ET report.
This rise in API prices is hurting the industry. The prices of drugs such as paracetamol, meropenem and metformin, have increased 139 percent, 127 percent and 124 percent respectively. In India, these drugs are under price control, compelling companies to absorb the higher costs. Moreover, packaging and freight costs have also jumped manifold, ranging from 100 percent for packaging materials, and between 233 percent and 360 percent for shipping freight rates from China. [PharmaCompass]