Prices of paracetamol, a medicine commonly used to treat fever, have gone up 40 percent in India as the coronavirus outbreak hit production in China according to a report by The Times of India.
The price of azithromycin, an antibiotic, has risen by 70 percent, Pankaj R Patel, chairman of Zydus Cadila told the publication.
The coronavirus outbreak, which has caused over 1,800 deaths in China, has forced some factories in the country to halt production.
This hurts the supply chain distribution of products to other countries, such as India, which is the world’s largest generics supplier.
If supplies do not recover by the first week of March, then the Indian pharmaceutical industry could face some shortage in finishing drug formulations starting from April, Patel told the paper.
Frequently Asked Questions
A vaccine works by mimicking a natural infection. A vaccine not only induces immune response to protect people from any future COVID-19 infection, but also helps quickly build herd immunity to put an end to the pandemic. Herd immunity occurs when a sufficient percentage of a population becomes immune to a disease, making the spread of disease from person to person unlikely. The good news is that SARS-CoV-2 virus has been fairly stable, which increases the viability of a vaccine.
There are broadly four types of vaccine — one, a vaccine based on the whole virus (this could be either inactivated, or an attenuated [weakened] virus vaccine); two, a non-replicating viral vector vaccine that uses a benign virus as vector that carries the antigen of SARS-CoV; three, nucleic-acid vaccines that have genetic material like DNA and RNA of antigens like spike protein given to a person, helping human cells decode genetic material and produce the vaccine; and four, protein subunit vaccine wherein the recombinant proteins of SARS-COV-2 along with an adjuvant (booster) is given as a vaccine.
Vaccine development is a long, complex process. Unlike drugs that are given to people with a diseased, vaccines are given to healthy people and also vulnerable sections such as children, pregnant women and the elderly. So rigorous tests are compulsory. History says that the fastest time it took to develop a vaccine is five years, but it usually takes double or sometimes triple that time.
In the short-to-medium term, there might be a significant increase in the cost of active pharmaceutical ingredients — the basic substance used to make drugs, Patel added.India relies on China for 80 percent of its active pharmaceutical ingredient requirement, the report added.