Gelatin prices look to rise steeply

In a new wrinkle in the global gelatin market, excipient maker Rousselot is raising prices for the fourth quarter and telling customers to be prepared for aggressive price hikes next year.

The French company, which caters to the pharmaceutical industry, says most of the price pressure comes from tightening supplies of raw materials, particularly cow bones. Rousselot will raise bovine bone gelatin prices 4% to 5% for the quarter. It says prices of porcine gelatins will rise 2% on average. It lays some of the blame for that on new animal welfare rules in the European Union. A spokesman tells in-PharmaTechnologist that Rousselot expects farmers in Europe to charge more for the pigskin used in some gelatin as they address the expense of meeting new housing rules for swine that take effect in January. 

The price move comes even as drugmakers are looking for ways to cut production costs in the face of a tougher market and big pressures on the revenue side of their businesses. Looking to China for cheaper product, which the industry has done for APIs, can be tricky.

Earlier this year, China closed hordes of gelatin makers after discovering they were cutting costs by using industrial grade gelatin made from scrap leather that contained high amounts of chromium. Used in the leather tanning process, chromium is associated with increased cancer risk. Chinese drugmaker Biostar Pharmaceuticals ($BSPM) reported that it had to destroy 5 million capsules after tests confirmed concentrations of chromium. Reports said none of those capsules were exported. 

Drugmakers in India also have been struggling to find all the gelatin supplies it needs for domestic production. The International Pharmaceutical Excipients Council (IPEC) Federation opened a branch there and has been helping the Indian pharmaceutical industry look for outside producers to establish operations there. Industry groups have said that much of the production is being exported, creating hardships on domestic producers.

- here's the Rousselot press release 
- get more from in-PharmaTechnologist 

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