September 23: Pharmaceutical companies have reduced their production to a large extent due to the fall in demand for medicines in the market.
The drug manufacturers say that they were forced to cut their production as the demand for drugs other than those required for chronic illness and paracetamol have become almost nil after the government imposed lockdown to contain the spread of coronavirus.
Due to the slump in demand, the drug manufacturers have slashed their production by almost 70 percent, informed Narayan Bahadur Chhetri, president of the Association of Pharmaceutical Producers of Nepal (APPON).
“The drug manufacturers are producing very less amount of drugs because there is no demand for drugs in the market,” says Chhetri.
Initially, the drug manufacturers lowered their production after India and China restricted supply of raw materials for the durgs and also increased their prices. But now, although the supply chain is not disrupted, there is no demand for drugs at all, says Chhetri.
Chhetri says people have started avoiding hospitals unless it is absolutely necessary due to the fear of contracting coronavirus. He considers this as the main reason for the lack of demand for medicines.
Deurali Janata Pharmaceuticals, which is the largest drug manufacturer of Nepal, stopped production for almost a month due to lack of demand for drugs in the market.
Operator of the company Hari Bhakta Sharma informed that they had to halt production for some time because there wasn’t any demand for drugs but have now resumed production.
“We have been producing drugs in accordance to the market demand,” he told New Business Age.
Chairman of Nepal Medical Association Sitaram Ghimire informed that the number of people visiting hospitals has reduced drastically in the recent days. According to Ghimire, the demand for medicines used to treat trauma, skin diseased and pain killers have dropped sharply. The demand for medicines used for the treatment of cancer, tuberculosis, diabetes and other chronic illnesses is normal, informed Ghimire. He added that the demand for psychiatric drugs has however skyrocketed in the recent days.
“Many people have lost their jobs. There is massive fear of pandemic, and that is why people are stressed,” said Ghimire,, adding, “This has resulted depression among the masses.”