India investing $1.3B to cut dependence on Chinese APIs

India, the world's biggest maker of generic drugs, hopes to cut its dependence on Chinese APIs to produce those products. (Susanne Jutzeler, suju-foto from Pixabay)

India, like other countries, has grown dependent on cheap active pharmaceutical ingredients from China. With the COVID-19 outbreak having put pressure on prices and supplies, the country is now doing something to wean itself away from that API habit. 

The government is setting up a 100-billion-rupees ($1.3 billion) fund to produce more APIs in the country, Bloomberg reports

The fund includes money for infrastructure and to provide financial incentives of up to 20% of incremental sales value over the next eight years, Bloomberg reports, citing a government statement.

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India is the largest global supplier of generic drugs. The FDA says it provides 40% of U.S. generics. But India buys an estimated 70% of its APIs from China. As worries grew about how the COVID-19 outbreak in China would dent supply chains, India put export restrictions on 26 APIs and drugs.

While the FDA has reported one drug shortage in the U.S. due to the outbreak, so far the global supply chain for APIs and drugs has held up. The FDA is taking steps to help drugmakers boost the supply of hydroxychloroquine sulphate and chloroquine phosphate APIs along with hydroxychloroquine sulphate tablets to the U.S. because there is anecdotal evidence the malaria treatments might have a positive effect against the COVID-19 virus. The agency is allowing India's Ipca Laboratories to temporarily ship the APIs and drugs from plants it earlier banned because of serious quality failures

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