API price hike hits pharma units

A steep rise in the prices of raw materials, including active pharmaceutical ingredients (APIs), which are largely imported from China, has adversely affected the sector, especially the micro small and medium sector enterprises (MSME), in the state.

The industry is demanding a task force at the Centre to tide over the crisis. 550 manufacturers hit

The steep hike has enhanced the capital induction by three times, hitting the survival of 550 units. The situation has come to such a pass that the manufacturing of several drugs can go off the shelf if the prices are not controlled. Rajesh Gupta, President, HDMA

The pharmaceutical industry has been battling the price rise ever since Covid hit the world. Price rise ranging from 25 per cent to 300 per cent has been registered in APIs and other raw materials from the pre-Covid era, threatening the viability of MSME units.

“The steep hike has enhanced the capital induction by three times, hitting the survival of 550 units. The situation has come to such a pass that the manufacturing of several drugs can go off the shelf if the prices are not controlled,” said president, Himachal Drug Manufacturers Association (HDMA), Rajesh Gupta.

Since the MSME units are finding it difficult to operate under such circumstances, the Himachal Drug Manufacturers Association (HDMA) is demanding the constitution of a pharmaceutical raw and packaging material task force to protect the industry and avoid the shortfall of medicines.

“The prices of APIs like paracetamol, which stood at Rs 300 per kg in the pre-Covid era, have now increased to Rs 900-Rs 1,000 per kg,” added Gupta. SL Singla, adviser, HDMA, said, “A substantial decline has been registered in the production of paracetamol-based drugs and several other formulations due to hike in the price of its API. The government should act fast to devise a mechanism to check the price rise.”

“The task force can include members of related ministeries like the Health and Family Welfare, the Ministry of Chemicals and Fertilisers, the Ministry of Commerce and Niti Ayog. They should keep a watch on the manufacturers of bulk drugs and their price,” said Gupta.

Prices of exicipients and solvents, used to aid manufacturing, like glycerin, propylene glycol, iso propyl alcohol have registered a steep hike.

“Mono cartons and corrugated packaging prices have increased from 25 to 40 per cent while the PVC price, used for blistering of tablets and oral liquid bottles, has shown a steep increase from 25 per cent to 30 per cent. Vials, ampoules, flip-off seals, butyl seals too have registered a hike in their price,” said Munnish Thakur, association general secretary.

Not only this, the freight of containers for import and export has gone up 6 to 9 times compared to the pre-Covid era globally owing to their shortage. Even the logistics have registered an increase of 10-20 per cent owing to the hike in the prices of petrol, diesel and CNG.

Though an extensive data pertaining to these facts were compiled and submitted through the Chief Minister to the Prime Minister’s Office almost a year back, little has been done to take preventive measures, rue investors, who are now demanding an early resolution to the problem.

(Source: The Tribune)