CORONAVIRUS could spark a global paracetamol crisis as India limits its drug exports.

Experts have warned that the country is likely to face a shortage of ingredients if the deadly bug continues to spread.

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India, which is the world's biggest supplier of generic drugs, relies on China for almost 70% of the active ingredients in its medicines.

But many drug ingredient makers in China remain shut or cut output.

India has now restricted exports for 26 ingredients and the medicines made from them.


Paracetamol is one of the world’s most widely used pain relievers and is one of many drugs which could soon be in short supply.

Shaun Rein from the China Market Research Group, said: "Even drugs that aren't produced in China get their base ingredients from China.

"Globally there could be a shortage if China and India both get hit.”

The list of India's restricted ingredients and medicines makes up 10% of all of its pharmaceutical exports and includes several antibiotics, such as tinidazole and erythromycin, the hormone progesterone and Vitamin B12.

Its government has said there are enough stocks to last for up to three months.

Oxford Economic's lead economist Stephen Foreman told the BBC: "There are already signs that the reduction in supply to India has pushed up prices there considerably."

The country is not the only one to restrict its medical exports.


It was announced today that Germany has banned the export of medical protection gear to avoid supply shortages of masks, gloves and suits.

The decision was taken by the government’s emergency task force with the ban coming into force with immediate effect.

Turkey also restricted the export of medical protective gear, meaning companies must now seek government authorisation to export medical masks, gloves, protective gowns and goggles.

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