Coronavirus Outbreak: Worries for key drug ingredients; technical committee formed to suggest measures

FE Online

Coronavirus: With Coronavirus spreading at a faster pace in China as well as other countries, the government is concerned about some important drug ingredients that India imported. In order to tackle this, the government has formed a 10-member technical committee that will work on reviving India's lost capacity in terms of drug ingredients, The Indian Express reported. The decision has come on the back of COVID-19 escalation and shutting down of Chinese province which exported the crucial drug ingredients to India, the report said.

The new committee formation has been announced one month after the Department of Pharmaceuticals' (DoP) expert committee started monitoring the potential impact of the deadly viral outspread in China and the supply of active pharmaceutical ingredients (APIs) to India, the report said. It added that the committee is likely to analyse and suggest measures in order to curb the shortage of these drugs ingredients. According to the report, APIs are of much importance as they are the ones that give the therapeutic effect of drugs. CDSCO Joint Drug Controller Eswara Reddy chaired committee are working on reviving India's API segments (especially, fermentation-based APIs.) This includes introducing fresh API manufacturing capacities and looking into the related costs. These are required for reducing the country's dependence on the API imports.

The report said that the new committee is also expected to look into the latest technologies that are viable for making APIs. The committee is likely to examine a proposal as well. The proposal states to restart manufacturing APIs via Hindustan Antibiotics Limited (HAL), a government undertaking, the report added. Not only this but the committee will also be checking the capacities of existing facilities. Among the required ingredients, 58 have been identified. These include Vitamin C, amoxicillin, acyclovir, neomycin, and tetracycline. These are imported from China's Hubei which is currently locked down. India, in the last two days, has reported 18 positive cases of Coronavirus, including 14 Italian tourists.