Virus causes big headaches for global pharmaceutical giants

Business

Virus causes big headaches for global pharmaceutical giants

Nearly all ingredients for many critical antibiotics and fever medications are sourced from China

FT.com

The rapidly-spreading coronavirus has not only caused misery for thousands of victims, but big headaches for the pharmaceutical industry. Supplies of everyday drugs, including pain-reliever paracetamol, are under threat. China, especially Hubei province, the epicentre of the outbreak, is critical to the global pharmaceutical supply chain. Disruptions at Chinese and Indian drugmakers will lead to drug shortages worldwide.

Those are already starting to be felt. Since the outbreak costs of mainstream antibiotics have risen 50% for Indian drugmakers, the world’s biggest exporter of generic drugs. These companies, which produce a fifth of the world’s drugs, rely on China for more than two thirds of their chemical inputs. Nearly all ingredients for many critical antibiotics and fever medications are sourced from China.

Markets have registered their concern. Share prices of Chinese drug makers Sino Biopharmaceutical, Shanghai Pharmaceutical, and China Pharma have plunged in the past few weeks, with the latter down as much as 50%. Indian producers such as Cipla, Aurobindo Pharma, and Sun Pharma are down more than a tenth...

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