(Yicai Global) Dec. 19 -- Wuhan in central Hubei province, Jinan in eastern Shandong province and other Chinese cities are increasing their orders of ibuprofen, a drug used to treat fever, as the number of infections of the Covid-19 omicron variant spirals amid an easing of pandemic prevention measures in the country.
The city of Wuhan has been ordering three million ibuprofen pills a day from China Resources Hubei Pharmaceutical since Dec. 17, the drugmaker said. Some 80 percent goes to hospitals and the rest to retail outlets.
Jinan put 1.1 million ibuprofen pills on the market on Dec. 16 and Dec. 17, and eight pharma firms are now producing 21 medicines used to treat and prevent the novel coronavirus at full blast.
Production in southeastern Zhejiang province has reached 40,000 boxes of ibuprofen a day, the provincial government said yesterday as it pushes drugmakers to hike capacity. The local government will stockpile antiviral, fever-reducing and detoxifying Chinese patent medicines as well as antigen test kits.
Yichang Humanwell Pharmaceutical, based in Hubei province, plans to hike output to 3,800 tablets per minute, and introduce smaller packages, it said.
The Healthcare Security Administration of Hubei province is also adjusting the prices of 21 drugs including ibuprofen. The price of 100 mililiters of ibuprofen will be slashed 15.2 percent to CNY13.16 (USD1.8) from tomorrow.
Hefei in eastern Anhui province, Fuzhou in southeastern Fujian province, and Jianye district in Nanjing, eastern Jiangsu province are preparing free health kits, containing thermometers, masks, alcohol disinfectant wipes, ibuprofen, and antigen test kits for use by those with mild or asymptomatic infections who are staying at home.
Wary of profiteering, the State Administration for Market Regulation is cracking down on price gouging of pandemic prevention materials.
But certainly there is no shortage of supply. Shandong Xinhua Pharmaceutical is the world’s largest producer of ibuprofen’s active pharmaceutical ingredients. While Hubei Biocause Heilen Pharmaceutical is China’s largest and the world’s second-largest supplier of non-steroidal ibuprofen. In 2020, Biocause Heilen produced 3,732 tons of ibuprofen APIs, equivalent to more than 10 billion ibuprofen pills at 0.3 gram per tablet.
Editor: Kim Taylor