ZURICH (Reuters) – Novartis subsidiary Sandoz on Wednesday said it would keep prices stable on a basket of medicines which may help to treat coronavirus patients, responding to recent concerns over potential drug shortfalls and price spikes in the wake of the coronavirus break. “With immediate effect, and despite current uncertainties about how the supply situation will evolve, Sandoz is committing as an initial response to keep prices stable for certain essential medicines it markets commercially, which may help in the treatment of coronavirus cases,” Sandoz head Richard Saynor said in a statement. The price freeze will affect roughly twenty antiviral and antibioitic drugs, a spokesman said. Industry experts have warned of shortages and potential price increases of generic drugs if the coronvirus outbreak disrupts suppliers of pharmaceutical ingredients in China. U.S. officials earlier this week raised concerns about the security of the U.S. drug supply chain in the wake of the coronavirus outbreak in China, where a significant portion of the ingredients used to make prescription drugs is manufactured.
(Reporting by Brenna Hughes Neghaiwi and Paul Arnold, editing by Louise Heavens)