COVID-19 lockdown in India hub leaves pharmas scrambling to keep up supply

With a major Indian production hub now locked down in a COVID-19 containment zone, the spotlight on pharma's emerging markets suppliers will likely shine even hotter. 

Drug manufacturing facilities in Baddi, Himachal Pradesh, India—a key source of drug supplies—have shut down or reduced capacity since the region locked down in mid-April, the Economic Times reported Wednesday.

Fifty facilities reportedly have shuttered, including at least one operated by top generics player Sun Pharmaceuticals, ET reported.

A slew of others are hobbled by the lockdown. State deputy drug controller Manish Kapoor told ET that Dr. Reddy's Laboratories is operating at 15% of capacity at its two units there. Abbott is operating at 25-30%, and Cadila is running at 35%, among others hindered by the lockdown.

While those manufacturers have diversified operations throughout India and in other countries, the potential effects on the global supply chain were enough to capture the attention of former FDA Commissioner Scott Gottlieb, who cited ET's reporting in a tweet Wednesday morning. 

The U.S. supply of generic and branded medicines, heavily reliant on emerging markets in India and China, has come under close scrutiny as COVID-19 sends shockwaves through the industry. 

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