Around 12 medicines — mainly antibiotics, vitamins and hormones — may face export restrictions soon as the government explores measures to ensure there is no shortage of essential drugs in India due to the lockdown in China’s Hubei’s province, the epicentre of the coronavirus outbreak and also a major supplier of raw material or active pharmaceutical ingredient (API) used in medicine formulations.
The eight-member expert committee constituted by the government to assess the availability of medicines has suggested imposing export restrictions on 12 drugs including antibiotics like chloramphenicol, neomycin, metronidazole, azythromicin, clindamycin; vitamin B1, B2 and B6; as well as hormones like progesterone used during pregnancy and in menstrual related problems.
Besides, the panel has urged the Centre to ask states to invoke provisions of the Essential Commodities Act and launch a strong vigil against hoarders and any kind of artificial shortage. States must take steps to ensure that traders do not exploit the opportunity and hike prices of either API or medicine formulations, the panel said in its report.
The committee has also sought data from leading pharmaceutical firms, industry associations like Indian Drug Manufacturers Association, Indian Pharmaceutical Alliance and Organisation of Pharmaceutical Producers of India.