Pharmaceutical majors Novo Nordisk, Eli Lilly and Natco have temporarily closed their offices in flood-ravaged Chennai and sent staff on leave while others including Novartis India and Dr Reddy’s are monitoring the situation.
Danish multinational Novo Nordisk has kept its facility shut since Wednesday. “There is no electricity and we are unable to reach our staff via telephone,” said a company spokeswoman.
The US-headquartered Eli Lilly shut its Chennai facility. Natco Pharma, which operates its active pharmaceutical ingredient (API) plant in Chennai, has suspended operations.
“The company’s wholly owned subsidiary’s active pharmaceuticals ingredient plant has temporarily suspended operations,” Natco Pharma said in a filing to the BSE. Novartis hasn’t shut its operations but has asked its medical representatives in the city to take an individual call depending on the circumstances.
“There are many drugs for serious illness that are dropped at patients’ homes instead of pharmacies. We haven’t announced a holiday but we have asked our medical representatives to take care of themselves first,” Ranjit Shahani, vice-chairman of Novartis India, told HT.
Drug makers in other parts of the country could face shortage of APIs till manufacturing remains suspended in Chennai.
Dara Patel, secretary general of the Indian Drug Manufacturers’ Association, the largest pharma group that has over 800 members, said: “The transportation of drugs from the units and transportation of raw material into the units will be a major challenge.”