Delay in customs clearance leads to shortage of APIs

Manufacturing cost of some drugs, too, rises by 10 to 14 per cent

Delay in customs clearance leads to shortage of APIs

Amid the Covid-19 outbreak, the pharma hub of the Baddi-Barotiwala-Nalagarh (BBN) belt is facing shortage of active pharmaceutical ingredients (APIs) that are imported from China.

Ambika Sharma

Tribune News Service

Solan, June 29

Amid the Covid-19 outbreak, the pharma hub of the Baddi-Barotiwala-Nalagarh (BBN) belt is facing shortage of active pharmaceutical ingredients (APIs) that are imported from China.

Govt should take investors into confidence

This is an unfortunate situation. Despite having all documents and licences to import APIs, an investor will incur a huge loss due to the clearance delay. The government should have taken the investors into confidence before taking such a step. — BR Sikri, President of federation of pharmaceutical entrepreneurs

The manufacturing cost of certain medicines has also increased by 10 to 14 per cent as the API prices have witnessed a sharp rise from the pre-Covid era. The delay in clearance of API consignments at ports is further adding to the woes of the industry.

At least 70 per cent of the API requirement of the domestic pharmaceutical industry is met from China.

SL Singla, adviser, Himachal Drug Manufacturers’ Association, said the prices of APIs had increased by 22 to 30 per cent and the shortage was visible in the market as the consignments from China were facing delay in customs clearance at various ports.

Officials of DHL Express (I), shipping, tracing and courier delivery services, said in view of delay in the clearance of shipments from China, Hong Kong and Macao in all ports in India, they had temporarily suspended import pick-ups for 10 days starting June 25.

This had been done to ensure that shipments from other countries were not affected.

BR Sikri, president of the Federation of Pharmaceutical Entrepreneurs, said, “This is an unfortunate situation. Despite having all documents and licences to import APIs, an investor will incur a huge loss due to the clearance delay. The government should have taken the investors into confidence before taking such a step.”

He said that although the Centre was promoting the setting up of drug parks to manufacture APIs and reduce dependence on China, long-term solutions would take at least two to three years to materialise, added Sikri.

Imported from China

  • Active pharma ingredients (APIs) are raw materials used in the manufacture of medicines or formulations
  • At least 70 per cent of the API requirement of the domestic pharmaceutical industry is met from China

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