New Delhi: In the wake of the deadly coronavirus in the country, the Central government on Tuesday has asked the National Pharmaceutical Pricing Authority (NPPA), Drugs Controller General of India (DCGI) and respective state governments to make sure that adequate supply of active pharmaceutical ingredients (APIs) and formulations are available at affordable prices in the market. Also Read - Coronavirus Outbreak: Govt Urges Radio, TV Channels to Publicise Advisory, Awareness Messages

As preventive measure, the Central government also issued instructions to NPPA, DCGI and state governments to prevent black marketing, illegal hoarding, artificial shortages of active pharmaceutical ingredients (APIs) and formulations in the country. Also Read - Milan 2020: Indian Navy Postpones Naval Exercise Amid Fears of Coronavirus Outbreak

On the other hand, the NPPA has also written a letter to chief secretaries of states with copies to principal secretaries (health) and state drug controllers asking them to closely monitor the production and availability of APIs and formulations to prevent the black marketing and hoarding in their states or UTs. Also Read - ‘Take Specific Measures to Combat Coronavirus’: DGCA Issues Fresh Guidelines to Airlines, Airports

The NPPA has also asked states to make sure that there is no violation of provisions of the Drugs (Prices Control) Order, 2013, with regard to compliance of ceiling prices/ permissible increase in prices of scheduled/ non-scheduled formulations respectively.

To address the issue of drug security in the country amid the coronavirus outbreak, the DoP had earlier constituted a committee under the chairmanship of Eswara Reddy, joint drugs controller at CDSCO.

Filing its report, the committee stated that the current stock-in-hand of the APIs may be sufficient for 2-3 months to make formulations. The committee also stated that there is no need to panic as far as drug security is concerned.

“As per the latest available information, most of the Chinese companies manufacturing pharmaceutical ingredients (excluding those in Hubei province) have now resumed operations partially and expected to resume fully by end of March. There are no restrictions on the export of APIs from China,” the statement said.

Earlier in the day, the Central government did put a restriction on exports of 26 pharma ingredients and medicines, including paracetamol, vitamin B1 and B12.