India renews duty on Chinese paracetamol

Indian API makers often complain about cheap APIs coming into the country from China. The government has responded periodically with import duties and it will continue an "anti-dumping" charge against analgesic API paracetamol.

The Central Board of Excise and Customs has renewed a charge of $787 per metric ton on paracetamol for the next 5 years, according to The Economic Times. There has been a duty against the drug since 2001, although imports of the API, which is used in a number of over-the-counter products, continue to grow.

A review by the Directorate General of Anti-dumping Duty found that imports were up nearly 70% from 2008 through March 31 of this year despite the duty. It said, "Should the present anti-dumping duties be revoked, dumping of the subject goods may in all likelihood intensify, causing further injury to the domestic industry."

The Indian government has been looking for several years for ways to strengthen the domestic API business. But imports from China of APIs and intermediates continue to grow in India, even in the face of serious oversight lapses in China that have led to problems throughout the world. Tainted heparin that resulted in dozens of deaths in the U.S. in 2008 put authorities here on alert. The EU this year imposed new rules on API imports there, requiring that all products carry a manifest assuring the plant they made them had been inspected by an official oversight authority. But that came in the face of concern that the rule might lead to shortages of some APIs if China was unable to make assurances for all of the makers in its vast industry.

Wanting to change the perception of its industry, China has been cracking down. Last year, authorities closed 80 "illegal production lines" and seized 77 million contaminated capsules because products contained excessive chromium. The plants were using waste leather to make their drug capsules. It sent 7 people to jail for their parts in making and selling the defective products.

- read the Economic Times story