A view of the Ranbaxy Laboratories Limited pharmaceutical in Chandigarh, India (Photo: NARINDER NANU/AFP via Getty Images).

Widespread reduction of pharmaceutical manufacturing capacity in India due to Covid-19 pandemic will severely disrupt the global and domestic supply chain, particularly for active pharmaceutical ingredients (APIs), a data and analytics company has said.

The virus pandemic has disrupted pharmaceutical manufacturing and its movement in India even if the industry is exempted from the lockdown measures in the country, GlobalData has said.

The movement of materials appears still to be limited in the south Asian country, it noted. The workforce to carry out manufacturing has reduced as the pharma employees are restricted from travelling into work across multiple Indian states.

This labour disruption means raw materials are not reaching the pharma factories or are being delayed, bringing down the production.

Adam Bradbury, PharmSource Analyst at GlobalData, said: “Mumbai contains the largest number of contract manufacturing facilities in Maharashtra by far with 97. Covid-19 has hit Maharashtra the worst compared to other Indian states, with approximately 245,000 confirmed cases and 10,300 deaths as of 13 July 2020. Most of these cases have occurred in the highly populated cities of Mumbai (66 per cent of cases) and Thane.”

However, there are signs that India’s pharmaceutical manufacturing is recovering. Baddi manufacturing campus in Himachal Pradesh state, the largest pharma hub in Asia, has began reopening in late April and May after its facilities were fully shut or forced to operate at severely reduced capacity due to Covid-19 containment measures.

Bradbury concludes: “Furthermore, India has largely lifted the export restrictions it imposed in March and early April 2020 to prevent the domestic drug shortages caused by the pandemic. Since the easing of restrictions, India has boasted of supplying 2.8 million doses of hydroxychloroquine and 1.9 million doses of paracetamol to other countries.”

The virus affected pharma companies in India include Abbott Laboratories, Dr. Reddy’s Laboratories Ltd, Sun Pharmaceutical Industries Ltd, and others.

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