Govt lifts ban on export of Paracetamol APIs with immediate effect

Highlights:

  • The central government has removed restrictions on export of active pharmaceutical ingredients (APIs) for Paracetamol, which is used in COVID-19 treatment, with immediate effect.
Details Analysis:
  • The Directorate General of Foreign Trade (DGFT) has further amended its policy to remove restriction on export of Paracetamol APIs, making its export "free" with immediate effect.
  • On March 3, the government had put export restrictions on 26 pharma ingredients and medicines, including Paracetamol, a common pain reliever also sold as acetaminophen, as the coronavirus outbreak played havoc with supply chains.
  • Later on April 6, it lifted export bans on 24 APIs and formulations, barring Paracetamol.
  • The Indian pharmaceutical industry, third largest in the world in terms of volume and fourteenth largest in terms of value, exported formulations made from Paracetamol worth $5.41 billion during April-January 2019-20.
  • The figure stood at $5.8 billion in the financial year 2018-19.
  • Last month, India had shipped 1.9 million tablets and other forms of Paracetamol to 31 countries, adding that consignments of anti-malarial drug hydroxychloroquine and paracetamol were being sent to 87 countries on a commercial basis.
  • In FY19, India exported medicines worth $14.39 billion and bulk drug amd drug intermediates worth $3.911 billion.
  • However, the country also imports various bulk drugs and API for producing medicines.
  • Indian drugmakers rely on China, the source of the virus outbreak, for almost 70 % of the APIs for their medicines, mainly due to economic considerations.
Paracetamol: A fact file
  • Paracetamol is a pain reliever which was first made in 1877. 
  • It is placed in the Essential Medicine List of World Health Organization.
  • In 2018-19, India exported 5.8 billion USD worth paracetamol. 
  • The export of paracetamol in 2019-20 (till January 2020) was 5.41 billion USD.