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India says ready to export fever drugs to China amid spike in COVID-19 cases

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India, one of the world’s biggest drug makers, is ready to step up exports of fever medicines to China as it reels from a spike in COVID-19 cases, the chairperson of an Indian drug export body said on Thursday.

China’s sudden easing of strict COVID-19 rules earlier this month triggered a surge in demand for fever medicines and virus test kits on the mainland, leading to shops imposing limits on how much customers can buy and drugmakers ramping up production.

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“Marketing queries are coming to drugmakers asking for quotes on ibuprofen and paracetamol,” Sahil Munjal, chairperson of the Pharmaceuticals Export Promotion Council of India (Pharmexcil), told Reuters.

“Ibuprofen and paracetamol are facing a shortage in China at the moment, they are high in demand.”

China’s embassy in New Delhi did not immediately respond to an email seeking comment.

India’s foreign ministry said the country, one of the biggest makers of generic medicines in the world, was ready to help China.

“We are keeping an eye on the COVID situation in China,” foreign ministry spokesperson Arindam Bagchi said at a regular news briefing. “We have always helped other countries as the pharmacy of the world.”

India’s pharma exports to China accounted for just 1.4 percent of its overall exports in 2021/22, according to Pharmexcil’s latest annual report. The United States remains India’s largest destination for drugs exports.

Shares of Indian pharmaceutical companies have risen over the past few days on worries of a COVID-19 resurgence.

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