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Pharma sector facing shooting prices of raw materials: Assocham

The pharma sector is facing shooting prices and shortage of raw materials, known as active pharmaceutical ingredients (APIs), as 85 per cent of them come from China, Assocham said on Tuesday.

Pharma sector facing shooting prices of raw materials: Assocham
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New Delhi

It sought government's intervention in clearing the bottleneck in the import.

"Such practices are not acceptable during these challenging times when the whole country is fighting a battle against the pandemic. We urge an immediate intervention from authorities to take necessary action against this practice," Assocham Chairman of Northern Region Development Council A.S. Mittal said in a statement.

The drugs for which the raw material cost has gone up multifold include paracetamol (price from Rs 350 to Rs 790 per kg), propylene glycol (from Rs 140 to Rs 400 per kg) ivermectin (from Rs 18,000 to Rs 52,000 per kg) doxycycline  (from Rs 6,000 to Rs 12,000 per kg) and azithromycin (from Rs 8,000 to Rs 12,000 per kg).

Jitender Sodhi, Assocham Chairman of Himachal Pradesh State Development Council, said, "The economic impact of the Covid-19 second wave has started taking a toll on pharma sector as well.

Pharma grade raw materials should be supplied to manufacturers uninterrupted through provision of special passes and green passes can help in curbing the problem of shortage of raw material."

Call on action for mandatory fixing of base prices on per km basis for transportation vehicles and ambulances indulged in the services of Covid-19 should be taken by the government, which can help in cost cutting of raw material, he added.

Asia's biggest pharmaceutical hub -- Baddi-Barotiwala-Nalagarh (BBN) in Himachal Pradesh, producing several primary life-saving, anti-inflammatory, anti-viral, and Covid-19 drugs, is facing problem in procuring active pharmaceutical ingredients.

"This industrial belt is the backbone of India in the current Covid war. The unprecedented price hike and shortage of raw material due to various reasons has resulted in a huge demand and supply gap for these drugs.

The government should intervene to streamline the availability and the transportation of raw material as most of the active pharmaceutical ingredients are imported from outside India," said Manik Batra, Assocham Chairman of J&K Development Council.

The Chinese state-owned Sichuan Airlines has also suspended its cargo services to India for 15 days following the second wave of Covid-19. This, many industrial units in the BBN, fear will add to the problems.

"The entire country is facing a difficult time, when we cannot afford price hike in pharmaceuticals. The government should intervene and control the rising cost of raw materials of pharmaceuticals.

Subsidies in raw material and transport can be a big help," added Vijay Sharma, Assocham Chairman of Haryana State Development Council.

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