China’s daily output of ibuprofen, acetaminophen quadrupled in quick response to market needs
Published: Dec 29, 2022 09:26 PM
The staff of Guangzhou Baiyunshan Pharmaceutical General Factory sort out the packed ibuprofen tablets on Demcember 29, 2022. Photo: VCG

The staff of Guangzhou Baiyunshan Pharmaceutical General Factory sort out the packed ibuprofen tablets on Demcember 29, 2022. Photo: VCG

China's daily output of ibuprofen and acetaminophen is now four times higher than at the beginning of December, Wang Jiangping, vice minister of the Ministry of Industry and Information Technology (MIIT), said on Thursday. This is happening as the government and drug producers are ramping up measures to secure the supplies of cold and fever reducing drugs in responding to surging market demand.

In view of the short-term concentrated demand for ibuprofen, acetaminophen and other drugs in the early stage, the government has mobilized manufacturers to increase production and expand capacity, while fully guaranteeing the supply of these two key drugs, Wang said at the press conference on the guarantee of key medical supplies for epidemic prevention and control held by the MIIT.

At present, the production capacity of ibuprofen and acetaminophen, two types of antipyretic and analgesic drugs, has been greatly increased. The daily production capacity of the two drugs has reached 202 million tablets, and the daily output has reached 190 million tablets, more than quadrupled compared with the beginning of December, according to MIIT.

Since December 1, the total output of these two drugs in the country has reached 2.48 billion tablets. The main production provinces include Shandong, Hubei and Shanxi.

Local governments, drug producers and pharmacies in many parts of the country have offered free drugs to local residents in responding to needs.

As of Wednesday, a total of 174 million tablets of ibuprofen, 60 million tablets of acetaminophen, and more than 550 million antigen detection reagents have been allocated by the government to key areas across the country, according to Wang.

Moreover, domestic drug makers nationwide are going all out to secure drug supplies, with the production capacity keeping at a maximum level. Those with export certificates are also giving top priority to domestic demand.

Chen Xin, a regional manager of Hebei Jiheng Pharmaceutical based in North China's Hebei Province, told the Global Times on Thursday that they are working around the clock to provide the much-needed active pharmaceutical ingredient (API) for making acetaminophen and some other fever reducers under the government call.

"The daily production of the API for acetaminophen is 55 tons, which is already the top ceiling of our capacity at the moment," the manager said.

Previously, about 70 percent of the company's production was for overseas market, and now they have completely suspended export business in order to fully secure the stable supplies for domestic needs.

After the raw materials are sold to downstream pharmaceutical companies, it is expected that each ton of raw materials can produce about 2 million adult acetaminophen tablets, Chen said.

Taiji Group, a domestic producer for cold and fever reducing drugs in Southwest China's Chongqing, is also working in full swing for domestic demand. An employee told the Global Times that they are giving priority for domestic needs for drugs.

The production capacity of conventional drugs like ibuprofen is adequate in China, a country that accounts about one-third of the world's capacity of ibuprofen, an industry expert told the Global Times in a previous interview.

China's medical industry has a solid foundation overall, with sufficient production capacity, which can meet the national drug demand, Wang said, noting that with the joint efforts of all parties, the production capacity of domestic medical material production enterprises has been continuously increased.

Global Times