STATE TIMES NEWSJAMMU: At the difficult times, when the country is fighting with the second wave of COVID-19, The Pharma sector is facing shooting prices and shortage of Active Pharmaceutical Ingredients (API), as 85% of API comes from China.ASSOCHAM sought government intervention in clearing the bottleneck in import from China.ASSOCHAM Northern Region organized an online meeting to discuss the issue which was chaired by Vivek Atray, Chairman ASSOCHAM Regional council on Policy Advocacy Initiatives and attended by the chairman of all state development councils of Northern states.“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” said A S Mittal, Chairman, ASSOCHAM Northern Region Development Council.“The need for balancing the pricing of APIs as an essential ingredient for the pharma sector is vital and an immediate requirement,” Atray said.The drugs for which the raw material cost has gone up multifold also includes paracetamol (Price Rs 350 to Rs790 per kg), Propylene Glycol (Rs 140 to Rs 400 per kg) Ivermectin (Rs 18,000 to Rs 52,000 per kg) Doxycycline (Rs 6000 to Rs 12,000 per kg) and Azithromycin (Rs 8,000 to Rs 12,000 per kg).Jitender Sodhi, Chairman, ASSOCHAM Himachal Pradesh State Development Council & Chairman and Managing Director, Ayush Group of Companies India 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 Govt, which can help in cost cutting of raw material, he added. Asia’s biggest pharmaceutical hub, Baddi-Barotiwala-Nalagarh (BBN), producing several primary life-saving, anti-inflammatory, anti-viral, and Covid-19 drugs, is facing problem in procuring active pharmaceutical ingredients, 85% of which comes from China.“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, Chairman, ASSOCHAM J&K Development Council and Director, Batra Group.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. Government should intervene and control the rising cost of raw materials of Pharmaceuticals. Subsidies in raw material and transport can be a big help,” Vijay Sharma, Chairman, ASSOCHAM Haryana State Development Council & Director, Jindal Stainless.
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