New Delhi: The Directorate General of Foreign Trade (DGFT) on Monday removed the restrictions on export of 12 active pharmaceutical ingredients and their formulations, reflecting the resumption of supply from factories of these bulk drugs in China.
The 12 drugs, which were put under restrictions last month, are tinidazole, metronidazole, acyclovir, vitamins B1, B6 and B12, progesterone, chloramphenicol, erythromycin and clindamycin salts, neomycin and ornidazole.
These active pharmaceutical ingredients were manufactured in the Hubei province of China, the epicentre of the novel coronavirus infection, or Covid-19.
However, restrictions on paracetamol, a crucial anti-pyretic, continue.
The DGFT had last month tightened controls over the exports of 13 active pharmaceutical ingredients (APIs), including paracetamol, certain vitamins and antibiotics, and formulations made by them as the covid-19 epidemic in China was seen affecting their supply. This meant that companies planning to export these products would have had to secure a no-objection certificate from the government.
The DGFT’s restrictions followed a letter written by the department of pharmaceuticals (DoP) to the DGFT asking it to restrict the export of 12 drugs and their key ingredients amid concern of a supply crunch.
The restrictions were initially suggested by a panel set up by the DoP and chaired by joint drug controller S. Eswara Reddy.
China is a major supplier of APIs to the Indian pharmaceutical industry, accounting for as much as 90% of supplies in certain key antibiotics.
The country had been severely hit by the novel coronavirus pandemic, which infected over 80,000 people in the country and led to more than 3,000 deaths. Due to the outbreak, the Chinese government had shutdown all major cities, especially Wuhan the capital of Hubei province, which was the epicentre of the disease.
Since then, while the situation has eased in China, with barely any new cases, the disease has spread rapidly in other countries, especially the US, Italy, Spain, Germany and France. In India too, there has been a steady increase in the number of patients, with now more than 4,500 people being infected, with 122 deaths. Over 360 people have also recovered so far.