In what could be good news for Indian drug makers, the import of active pharmaceutical ingredients (APIs) and other raw materials from China has resumed.

Following the outbreak of Covid-19 in China, export of raw materials from that country to India was disrupted as most manufacturers ceased operations.

“The import of raw materials from China commenced about 10 days ago and we are now receiving them from all provinces except one,” R Uday Bhaskar, Director-General, Pharmaceutical Export Promotion Council (Pharmexcil), told BusinessLine on Wednesday.

India imports about $2.5-billion worth of APIs from China, according to Pharmexcil data. The industry had earlier expressed concern over the disruption of imports from China and said the existing inventory would be adequate to run production for up to three months.

A Pharmexcil official said that the resumption of imports was a good development.

Logistics concerns

Chinese manufacturers have also conveyed their readiness to supply to India personal protection equipment that will be crucial in fighting the Covid-19 contagion. “We have been approached on this by China only yesterday and are working on it,” he said.

However, the state of internal logistics and the inability to move shipments are a concern. Both for import of raw materials from China, and pharma exports, the lockdown has been a challenge, with cancellation of all flights, suspension of operations at ports, and trucks off roads.

“Most of the exports have not been lifted from airports and ports from the beginning of this month. Restrictions on pharma exports are also matter of worry for the industry now,” said a senior functionary of a leading Hyderabad-based pharma company.