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Published on : Dec 04, 2015

The torrential rains and the resulting flood in Chennai have wrecked havoc on the entire city.  The situation is so bad that many pharmaceutical companies in the city have decided to close the offices and operations temporarily until the situation eases. Major pharma companies including Eli Lilly, Novo Nordisk and Natco have already closed their offices for a brief period of time and have sent the staff on leave. Some other companies such as Dr. Reddy’s and Novartis India are monitoring the situation.

The production facility of Danish multinational pharma company Novo Nordisk has been shut since Wednesday. A company spokesperson said that the company has been unable to reach the staff via telephone and there is also no electricity. Eli Lilly, headquartered in the U.S., has also shut its production facility in Chennai. Natco Pharma, which has its API (active pharmaceutical ingredient) unit in Chennai, has also temporarily shut down its production.

The situation has also posed the challenge of transporting raw material to production units as well as the transport of drugs from production units to their destinations.

Natco Pharma said in a report to the BSE that the active pharmaceutical ingredient plant in its wholly owned subsidiary in Chennai has suspended the operation temporarily. Novartis has not suspended operations but has informed the medical representatives to take a call depending on the situation.

Novartis India’s vice chairman Ranjit Shahani said that many medicines for serious illnesses have been dropped at patients’ homes instead of pharmacy shops. He also said that the company hasn’t declared a holiday but has asked the medical representatives to first take care of themselves.

Owing to the circumstances, it is a possibility that drug producers in other cities could face the shortage of active pharmaceutical ingredients until the manufacturing regains a stable start in the city.