Coronavirus: Nigeria to face drug scarcity as India closes border on export

Nigeria may experience drug scarcity as the Government of India officially restricted the exportation of essential drugs and Active Pharmaceutical Ingredients to Nigeria and other countries across the globe.

The ban, our Correspondent gathered, was to sustain India’s home market in the face of the global spread of the coronavirus, which has affected imports from China.

This is contained in a circular signed and released by the Director General, Directorate General of Foreign Trade, Ministry of Commerce & Industry, Mr. Amit Yadav.

According to the document sighted by our Correspondent, the ban on pharmaceuticals was in exercise of powers conferred by Section 3 of the Foreign Trade (Development & Regulation) Act, 1992 (No. 22 of 1992) of the Foreign Trade Policy as amended.

“The export of specified Active Pharmaceutical Ingredients and formulations made from these APIs under the ITC HS Codes mentioned against each is hereby ‘restricted,’ with immediate effect and till further orders.”

The restricted pharmaceutical exports include Paracetamol, antibiotics such as Chloramphenicol, Neomycin, Metronidazole, Azithromycin, Clindamycin, Tinidazole, vitamin B1, B2 and B6; as well as hormone drugs such as progesterone used during pregnancy and in menstruation-related problems.

Two weeks ago, the Times of India had reported that the country was facing the ripple effects of shutdowns in China, with the production of medicines being hit as supply chain disruptions prolong.

Prices of paracetamol, the most commonly used analgesic, jumped by 40 per cent in India, while the cost of Azithromycin, an antibiotic used for treating a variety of bacterial infections, has risen by 70 per cent.

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