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China’s Easing of Covid-19 Control Has Triggered a Drug Shortage

During the past three years of Covid control, China has been putting antipyretic and other drugs under strict regulation. As a result, some pharmaceutical companies have gone bankrupt. With the sudden relaxation of control, many companies that did not receive prior notice are facing pressure to scale up production immediately as they do not have an adequate supply.

The “four types of drugs” in China generally refer to antipyretic, anti-cough, antibiotic and anti-viral drugs. Among them, China is the largest producer and exporter of Ibuprofen, the antipyretic and analgesic drug. It accounts for 1/3 of the world’s production.

A social media account that collects articles from around 100 hospital management experts and medical observers posted, “The four types of drugs were strictly controlled in the early stage, but no one told the drug companies to increase production before the relaxation.” The article says that there are more than 500 ibuprofen manufacturers in China, and there is no shortage of raw materials. Even if there were only 200 manufacturers, “if they had been told a month in advance (to increase production and stock), there would be one box for every Chinese.

The City government of Zhuhai in Guangdong province announced that, since December 20, ibuprofen and other drugs have had to be sold in unpacked boxes, with a price cap and real name registration.

Source: Central News Agency (Taiwan), December 20, 2022