The rapidly spreading coronavirus has not only caused misery for thousands of victims, but big headaches for the pharmaceutical industry. Supplies of everyday drugs, including paracetamol, are under threat. China, especially Hubei province, the epicentre of the outbreak, is critical to the global pharmaceutical supply chain. Disruptions at Chinese and Indian drugmakers will lead to drug shortages worldwide.

Those are already starting to be felt. Since the outbreak costs of mainstream antibiotics have risen 50% for Indian drugmakers, the world’s biggest exporter of generic drugs. These companies, which produce a fifth of the world’s drugs, rely on China for more than two-thirds of their chemical inputs. Nearly all ingredients for many critical antibiotics and fever medications are sourced from China.

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