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NPPA tells states, UTs to keep close watch on availability of API

New Delhi: In a preventive measure to restrict pharmaceutical companies from taking due 'advantage' of API "shortage" after the outbreak of Novel Coronavirus in China, National Pharmaceutical Pricing Authority (NPPA) has asked the state officials to keep a close tab on the situation in order to prevent hoarding of such items.

In a letter addressed to chief secretaries of the states and Union Territories, NPPA chairman Shubhra Singh has asked them to keep a close watch on the availability of key raw materials which are imported from China and used in the production of all kinds of medicines.

"The key drug industry associations have assured the government that there is enough stock of Active Pharmaceutical Ingredients APIs/ formulations in the country," Singh said in the letter.

"However, as a measure of public health preparedness in respect of APIs/intermediates/KSMs which are imported from China, it is requested that state governments and UTs may closely monitor the production and availability of APIs and their formulations to prevent black marketing and hoarding," the letter said.

The NPPA chief also asked the officials to ensure compliance of provisions under the Drug Price Control Order (DPCO), 2013.

"It may also be ensured that there is no violation of provisions of DPCO, 2013 with regard to compliance of ceiling prices/permissible increase in prices of scheduled/non-scheduled formulations," Singh noted.

In case any contravention is noticed, necessary action should be taken under the provisions of DPCO, 2013 to ensure availability of life saving essential drugs to the consumers at all times under intimation to this office, the NPPA chairman said.

India is dependent on China for import of key APIs and key starting materials, and there is an apprehension that in the wake of COVID-19, the supplies from China might be disrupted, resulting in shortage of medicines in the country.

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