March 2, 2020 / 10:52 AM / a month ago

UPDATE 2-India's Sun Pharma says hypertension drug in shortage in US

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BENGALURU, March 2 (Reuters) - Indian drugmaker Sun Pharmaceutical Industries Ltd reported a shortage of its generic version of hypertension drug pindolol in the United States due to a lack of pharmaceutical ingredients, but said the shortfall did not stem from China.

Indian companies are the main supplier of generic drugs to the world and procure almost 70% of the active pharmaceutical ingredients (APIs) for their medicines from China.

The coronavirus outbreak has disrupted international businesses dependent on Chinese supplies and industry experts expect Indian generic drugmakers to face supply shortages from China if the epidemic drags on.

"At the moment, we haven't seen any major disruption in API supplies due to the coronavirus outbreak in China," Sun Pharma said in an email on Monday, without giving details on the reasons for the shortfall in pindolol ingredients.

"We have sufficient inventory of API and raw materials for the short term," it added.

Sun Pharma, however, reiterated that there had been some impact on supplies for a few APIs, but did not identify the drugs that might be affected.

Last week, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration announced the first coronavirus-related drug shortage in the United States, but declined to name the drug in question, leaving industry players debating which medicines were at risk.

Pindolol, sold under the brand name Visken by Novartis , is an orally administered drug used alone or with other medications to treat high blood pressure.

Other generic drugmakers in India say they currently have enough API supplies from China to cover their operations for up to about three months. (Reporting by Anuron Kumar Mitra in Bengaluru; Editing by Saumyadeb Chakrabarty and Patrick Graham)

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