Export curbs on 24 pharma ingredients and medicines were relaxed by the Indian government on Monday. These 24 pharma ingredients and medicines include vitamin B1 and B12, an official notification stated. However, export restrictions on paracetamol and formulations made of paracetamol would remain, the notification by the Directorate General of Foreign Trade stated. On March 3, the Directorate General of Foreign Trade (DGFT), under the commerce ministry, had imposed export restrictions on 26 active pharmaceutical ingredients (APIs) and formulations, under which exporter has to obtain a licence or permission from the DGFT.
Easing of curbs on 24 APIs and its formulations assumed significance as certain pharma companies have raised concerns over these restrictions.
"24 APIs and formulations made from these APIs are made free for export with immediate effect," the DGFT said. With this, export of these items is allowed freely without any restrictions.
Earlier, there were no restrictions on outbound shipments of these products. APIs are raw material for pharmaceuticals.
India has exported APIs worth about USD 225 million last year.
The country's API imports stood at around USD 3.5 billion per year. Out of this, about USD 2.5 billion is from China.
Besides Vitamin B1, B6 and B12, the other APIs and formulations over which the export restrictions have been eased include tinidazole, metronidazole, acyclovir, progesterone, chloramphenicol, ornidazole, formulations made of chloramphenicol, formulations made of clindamycin salts, and formulations made of neomycin.
The APIs and formulations included common antibiotics and vitamins.
Meanwhile, US President Donald Trump has said he would be surprised if India did not allow the export of Hydroxychloroquine tablets to the United States despite a request made to New Delhi over the subject.
Last week Trump said that he has sought help from Prime Minister Narendra Modi to allow the sale of Hydroxychloroquine tablets ordered by the US to treat the growing number of coronavirus patients in his country, hours after India banned the export of the anti-malarial drug.
“So, I would be surprised if that were his decision. He'd have to tell me that. I spoke to him Sunday morning, called him, and I said we'd appreciate your allowing our supply to come out. If he doesn't allow it to come out, that would be okay, but of course, there may be retaliation. Why wouldn't there be?” Trump said.