Friday, December 3, 2021

China issues subtle pharma APIs export ban threat to India in retaliation

Centre readying PLLI scheme for boosting domestic production of APIs and intermediates

New Delhi: China has started issuing veiled threats to India about a possible sanction on exports of APIs which are crucial middle products for Indian medicine industry. The veiled threat comes with a terse message that this is a clear sign that the world’s fifth largest economy could ill-afford a trade war with China.

Global Times, which is widely regarded as the mouthpiece of CCP, today said in a tweet: “Days after implementing a ban on Chinese imports at customs, India is reportedly starting to clear APIs, vital middle products for its medicine industry. Experts said this is a clear sign that the world’s fifth economy could ill-afford a trade war with China.”

This threat comes in the wake of banning of 59 China based apps by Indian government.

Indian Pharma industry has been dependent on sourcing of APIs, the middle products for so many molecules, from China.

According to Pharma companies,, the supplies from China have been continuing so far without any problems, but with trade tensions rising and the ban on 59 Chinese apps, there is a possibility that China may also retaliate by curbing exports of APIs. This may hurt the Indian Pharma industry in the days to come.

However, Indian government has been aware of this dependence of Pharma industry on supplies of APIs from China. This is the reason the Centre is trying to fast-track launch of a PLI scheme to promote local manufacturing of active pharmaceutical ingredients (APIS).

For now, India imports around 80% of its APIs and starting ingredients for drugs from China. And the reason is that imports from China are very cost-effective.

But Indian government is now trying to do away with this dependence on supplies from China.

In a recent notification, the Department of Pharmaceuticals (DoP) had rolled out draft guidelines for the proposedPLI scheme. The guidelines were recommended by a technical committee, headed by Joint Drugs Controller S Eswara Reddy.

The committee made a recommendation to set up a Drug Security Authority (DSA) under the DoP, which is overseen by the Ministry of Chemicals and Fertilizers.

The aim of DSA will be to make India self-dependent in pharma sector and to help it create a supply chain of APIs and key starting materials for the pharma indsutry.

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