The Directorate General of Foreign Trade has lifted restrictions on the export of paracetamol APIs (active pharmaceutical ingredient (API) of the popular antipyretic drug), almost three months after the curbs were put in place due to a shortage of supply from China amid the Covid-19 pandemic.


Earlier, the Directorate General of Foreign Trade (DGFT) said in a notification that restrictions on exports of Paracetamol APIs or raw materials will continue.


“The notification… is further amended to remove the restriction on the export of paracetamol APIs, making it’s export ‘free’ with immediate effect,” the trade watchdog said in a notification on Thursday.


“There was a thought to remove the restrictions earlier, but the government wanted to be very sure that there was sufficient supply of the API in India. Now that there is enough production in India and data on the availability of the APIs, this was recommended and the restrictions removed,” said a senior government official on condition of anonymity.


The DGFT had last month already lifted restrictions on paracetamol formulations along with a dozen other drugs it had put curbs on in March.


On 3 March, it had restricted export of paracetamol and about a dozen other APIs as well as their formulations amid concern over supply disruption of crucial raw materials amid the Covid-19 pandemic.


The majority of these 13 APIs were imported from China, the epicenter of the pandemic.


With most of China coming out the lockdown, concerns over the availability of the 12 drugs have largely been assuaged, but paracetamol, being a crucial anti-pyretic, needs to be safeguarded, the government official said.


In April, the DGFT had also removed restrictions on the export of 12 active pharmaceutical ingredients and their formulations, which included antibiotics, hormones and vitamins. These dozen APIs were tinidazole, metronidazole, acyclovir, vitamins B1, B6 and B12, progesterone, chloramphenicol, erythromycin and clindamycin salts, neomycin and ornidazole.