Amid the coronavirus outbreak, drug price regulator NPPA has asked States and Union Territories to keep a close watch on the availability of key raw materials which are imported from China and used in the production of all kinds of medicines.
In a letter addressed to Chief Secretaries of states and Union Territories, National Pharmaceutical Pricing Authority (NPPA) has asked the state officials to keep a close tab on the situation in order to prevent hoarding of such items.
The key drug industry associations have assured the government that there is enough stock of Active Pharmaceutical Ingredients APIs/ formulations in the country,” the letter said. “However, as a measure of public health preparedness in respect of APIs/Intermediates/KSMs which are imported from China, it is requested that State Governments and UTs may closely monitor the production and availability of APIs and their formulations to prevent black marketing and hoarding,” the letter added.
The NPPA also asked the officials to ensure compliance of provisions under the Drug Price Control Order (DPCO), 2013. “It may also be ensured that there is no violation of provisions of DPCO, 2013 with regard to compliance of ceiling prices/permissible increase in prices of scheduled/non-scheduled formulations,” the letter noted.
In case any contravention is noticed, necessary action should be taken under the provisions of DPCO, 2013 to ensure availability of life saving essential drugs to the consumers at all times under intimation to this office, she added. India heavily depends on China for import of key APIs and key starting materials (KSMs), and there is an apprehension that in the wake of COVID-19, the supplies from China might be disrupted, resulting in shortage of medicines in the country.
Around 2,750 people have lost their lives in China due to the disease so far while the number of confirmed cases has climbed to 78,500. Cases of coronavirus infection have also emerged in various other countries including South Korea, Japan, Iran, Italy and Singapore.