India to send nearly 1,000 tons of paracetamol raw material to Europe

NEW DELHI: India will supply Europe with approximately 1,000 tonnes of the active pharmaceutical ingredient (API) for paracetamol for the relief of common pain, a leading export agency said, easing export controls on over-the-counter drugs used to cope with the COVID-19 symptoms.

In March, the Indian government suspended exports of several, including paracetamol, to secure supplies for its people after the outbreak disrupted the industry's global supply chain. COVID-19 is the respiratory disease caused by the new coronavirus.

Europe has sought up to 800 tonnes of paracetamol API each month, said Dinesh Dua, chairman of the Indian Pharmaceutical Export Promotion Council (Pharmexcil).

We have been under immense pressure from the European Union for the past 10 days, Dua said.

The European Union delegation in India did not immediately respond to a Reuters email requesting comment on the planned shipment.

Indian authorities have asked drug makers to make sure the country is adequately supplied for domestic requirements of up to four months, Dua said.

India, the world's leading provider of generic drugs, has shipped 1.9 million tablets and other forms of acetaminophen to 31 countries, the Foreign Ministry said late last month, adding that shipments of antimalarial drugs were shipped. and paracetamol to 87 countries on a commercial basis

Europe is the largest buyer of API for paracetamol from India and imports around 12,000 tons per year, according to estimates by Pharmexcil. The common pain reliever is also sold as acetaminophen.

The new coronavirus outbreak has killed more than a quarter of a million people and Europe has accounted for 57% of the global death toll.

India has so far reported more than 49,000 cases of COVID-19. The outbreak has shown no signs of slowing down despite a severe blockade that has limited its 1.3 billion population to their homes since the end of March.

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Health experts warn that an increase in infections can overwhelm the country's medical services. Indian pharmaceutical companies source almost 70% of the active pharmaceutical ingredients (APIs) for their medicines from China, where the virus had emerged late last year.

The country is vulnerable in terms of importing intermediate drug products from China, Dua said.

Pharmexcil has dozens of pharmaceutical companies like Abbott among its members. The council falls under the federal commerce ministry.

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