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COVID-19 Shutdowns in China may Restrict Availability of Drugs


It is apparent that closure of pharmaceutical plants in China has reduced world supply of antibiotics and basic compounds used to manufacture both OTC and prescription drugs.  Currently there is no emergency, but the flow of basic ingredients to India where compounding and packing of generics takes place, has obviously been impacted.  India announced a restriction on export of 25 ingredients used in antibiotic and analgesic formulations.  The cost of statins have already risen, given restriction in the supply chain.


Providing plants in China can soon resume operation, inventory should ease any major shortages.  Should problems persist through early Spring, problems will occur impacting multinationals in Italy, Switzerland, and Belgium, the major converters of Chinese ingredients into packaged pharmaceuticals.


In a March 6th article in The Wall Street Journal, Nathaniel Taplin and Charley Grant note that reliance on China, with their concurrent health problem, demonstrates the disadvantages of centralized production and globalization.