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Small scale pharmaceutical companies stop producing hydroxychloroquinone as price of raw materials increases drastically.

Image Credit: picture-alliance/AP Photo/ J.Locher

Small pharmaceutical companies in the city of Haridwar have stopped production of hydroxychloroquinone tablets as the raw materials needed to produce it has increased drastically due to high demand and low supply.

Hydroxychloroquinone is a medicine used to treat or prevent malaria, lupus, rheumatoid arthritis and mild cases of COVID-19, though this is disputed due to its reported severe side-effects. Anil Sharma, President of the Pharmaceutical Manufacturer Association in Haridwar said,

Many companies in Uttarakhand have the license for manufacturing hydroxychloroquine in Uttarakhand. However, the problem for us is that raw materials have become too costly. The raw materials which earlier used to cost Rs 9,000 per kilogram are now being sold at Rs 55,000-75,000. It is because the demand for raw materials is too high and the supply is low in the market, due to which the traders who have them are charging high prices.

Anil Sharma

Mr. Sharma also said,

Further, the maximum selling price of the drug is controlled and it can be sold only at Rs 5.61, therefore, it is not possible for small companies in the MSME sector to manufacture it as our manufacturing price is working out to be more than the MRP.

Anil Sharma.

Uttarakhand Drug Controller Tajbar Singh said that he requested the Drug Controller General of India to make sure there is enough supply to produce hydroxychloroquinone.

Over 60 companies have been approved for the production of hydroxychloroquine here. But there is a shortage in the supply of raw materials. Production will begin as soon as raw material reaches. Have written to Drug Controller General of India on it.

Tajbar Singh.

The exponential price increase in the raw materials may be linked to an explosion three weeks ago which severly damaged SCI Pharmtech capability to produce hydroxychloroquinone APIs. The company located in Taiwan, is considered to be the second largest hydroxychloroquine raw material supplier in the World. Read more about this here:

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