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CDMO Suven’s finished drug exports halted due to Indian COVID-19 lockdown

25 Mar 2020

Indian contract development and manufacturing organisation, Suven Pharmaceuticals, has warned it cannot export finished products due to a shortage of raw materials following the country’s recent lockdown to fight the COVID-19 pandemic.

Suven chairman and managing director Venkat Jasti said in a letter to customers and shareholders dated 25 March that even though Indian pharmaceutical manufacturing is exempted from the lockdown situation, the shortage had arisen because movement of goods both interstate and intrastate has been halted.

“This has…prevented us from being able to export finished products. To compound the situation, the government agencies at the seaports and airports are not operating to inspect and clear those finished goods,” he said.

He added that supply, production and shipment disruptions would all have an “unavoidable” impact on Suven and its customers.

Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi announced on Tuesday a three-week lockdown for the whole of India. “To save India and every Indian, there will be a total ban on venturing out of your homes,” he said in an address to the nation.

Earlier this month, India restricted exports of 26 APIs including antibiotics, vitamins and hormones. The move by the Directorate General of Foreign Trade was to ensure no shortages of drugs as a result of China’s COVID-19-related lockdown.

And earlier this week, the Indian government approved a USD1.3 billion scheme to boost domestic active pharmaceutical ingredient production and lessen reliance on Chinese imports. The plan involves development of three mega API drug parks in partnership with states and financial incentives to manufacturers of 53 identified critical APIs on incremental sales for the next six years.

In a research note dated 12 March, credit ratings agency India Ratings and Research said Indian pharmaceutical supply chain disruption could be far greater than the China environmental regulation-induced shortfall of 2017 If the COVID-19 outbreak is not contained within the next three months.

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