Coronavirus is impacting each and every industry. The pharma sector is also one of the targets of COVID-19 and the coronavirus hits the pharma sector hard as compared to the others. The prices of medicines all over the world are rising. The government of every country is implementing steps to hold the pharmacy sector from the crisis. Many medicines are running out of stock while the prices of the necessary drugs are hiking up at an alarming rate. What is the reason for this Inflation period in the pharma sector?
Montelukast sodium (an anti-asthma drug) is available between Rs 52,000 and Rs 58,000 per kg compared to the price before coronavirus that was Rs 33,000-38,000 kg. Vitamin and penicillin rates have also gone up enormously. The APIs used in antibiotics, paracetamol, aspirin, azithromycin, amoxicillin, ofloxacin, metronidazole; vitamins such as B12, B1, B6, and E; female hormone progesterone; lopinavir and ritonavir HIV drugs; and valsartan, a medication for blood pressure management, are heavily imported from China. Chinese shutdown has led to shortages of these APIs. As coronavirus hits the pharma sector different government agencies have been directed to ensure adequate availability of APIs and to search for black-marketing or illicit storage and to prepare steps to keep the situation under control.
As the coronavirus cases are increasing on a daily basis, many people are running towards medical stores and pharmacies to stock up N95 masks, surgical masks, sanitizers, antibiotic tablets, vaporizers, etc. This has created a massive shortage. According to a CNBC-TV18 survey, face mask prices have soared by 300 percent. A package of face masks that were previously available for Rs 1.50 is now being priced at Rs 6. The prices are extremely high in India as India does not produce such masks but only assembles them. The shortage is primarily due to fluctuations in supply in China combined with a significant amount of purchases from the Middle East and China.
Medication shortage results in life risk for the patient. Governments have taken crucial measures by creating an effective ecosystem in countries with an emphasis on fiscal and procedural support for pharmaceutical companies to kick-start intermediate development.