Paracetamol 40% More Expensive After Coronavirus Causes Shutdown in China
Coronavirus — an infectious viral outbreak out of Wuhan, China, now categorized as COVID-19 — has shut down China, after having infected more than 70,000 people with an overall death rate of 2.3%. As the world grapples with how to identify, quarantine and treat patients infected with coronavirus, over in India, the virus has caused a ripple effect in the field of medicine.
This shutdown in China has led to an increase in the prices of popular drugs in India — paracetamol, a commonly found analgesic, is now 40% more expensive, and the antibiotic azithromycin is now 70% more costly, Pankaj R. Patel, chairman of pharmaceutical company Zydus Cadila, told Livemint. India sources approximately 80% of the raw material for these drugs — active pharmaceutical ingredient or API — from China, where a large number of factories have been ordered by the government to remain closed so officials can stem the spread of coronavirus. This has stalled production and interrupted global supply chains, inciting fears within India’s pharmaceutical giants of an imminent shortage, which in turn led them to hike up prices.
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Due to the uncertainty about when these factories would be reopening, the pharmaceutical industry in India could start facing shortages of finished drugs as early as April, Patel told Livemint.
Costs to ship these ingredients from China to India have also increased — both by water and by air, according to The Print. It is likely India’s pharma industry will see a substantial increase in the prices of pharmaceutical ingredients in the near future, Patel added.