Coronavirus outbreak: Centre to consider export ban on 12 essential drugs, says report

Hemani Sheth Mumbai | Updated on February 17, 2020 Published on February 17, 2020

Provisions of Essential Commodities Act may be invoked to ensure adequate supply of drugs

The Centre will explore export restrictions on 12 essential drugs including antibiotics, vitamins and hormones, to ensure that there is no shortage of drugs within the country in light of the coronavirus outbreak, the Times of India reported on Monday.

The Centre is mulling over imposing a ban on various medicines as the Chinese government continues to impose a lockdown in Hubei, the epicentre of the outbreak.

Hubei is a major supplier of active pharmaceutical ingredient (API) for various medicines, the report said.


The government will consult an eight-member committee to outline an action plan for the same. The panel will put forth its suggestions urging the government to invoke provisions of the Essential Commodities Act, and ensure that API suppliers, other than those from Hubei, do not create an artificial shortage of the raw material to hike prices.

Furthermore, it has also suggested an export ban on drugs such as chloramphenicol, neomycin, metronidazole, azithromycin, vitamins B1, B2 and B6 and hormones such as progesterone, which are essential during pregnancy and menstruation, the report said. The panel will present its report on Tuesday, TOI reported.

Death toll

Earlier this month, the government lifted export restrictions on various equipment for personal protection, including disposable masks and all kinds of gloves except NBR (nitrile butadiene rubber) gloves.


The move was to aid China by enabling Indian manufacturers to export items urgently required by the country to curb the outbreak as per previous reports.

The Peoples’ Bank of China offered $29 billion in medium-term loans to banks on low interest to cushion the country’s economy from the impact of the virus epidemic, according to media reports.

The death toll from the outbreak in China is now beyond 1,700 with 100 new casualties reported in Hubei on Monday.

Published on February 17, 2020
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