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Costs 'a burden' for API and excipient makers, says BASF after raising prices again

By Gareth Macdonald , 30-Aug-2011

Chemicals giant BASF has increased the price of drug APIs and excipients by 10 per cent for the second time in a year.

The increase, which comes into effect on September 1, covers all excipients including the pill coating product Kollicoat, the tablet binder Kollidon and the solubilisation agents Cremphor and Lutrol.

On the active pharmaceutical ingredient (API) side, BASF’s move will affect a number of key and widely used compounds like caffeine, ibuprofen, pseudoephedrine and theophylline.

The German chemicals manufacturer said the hike is a result of increasing raw material, energy and labour costs, echoing comments it made when it last raised its prices in April .

Ralf Fink, spokesman for BASF’s Pharma ingredients unit told in-Pharmatechnologist.com that: “The cost increases are truly a burden to the overall industry.Hence we constantly look into ways to optimize our cost structure as well as to discuss with our customers potential ways to minimize necessary price increases.

He added that: “It is our daily job to look into cost reduction potentials. In this way we believe to have achieved to be very price competitive. However the significant cost increases of the past quarters cannot be offset by any short term measures.

Dr Fink declined to say if he thinks BASF’s chemical industry competitors will follow suit and increase what they charge for APIs and excipients. He also declined to say whether, if raw material, energy and labour costs fall, his company will reduce its prices.

Fink also rejected the idea that higher prices increase the likelihood that substandard or fake APIs and excipients enter the supply chain, adding that: “We stay firm to our promise to deliver the highest quality our customer can count on.

“For us there is no way to compromise on this and we believe that this is what our customers want and expect from us.”

Vitamin B5 hike

In another echo of the last BASF API and excipient price hike the firm also announced plans to increase what it charges for one of its nutritional ingredients.

In a statement last week BASF said it has raised the price of calcium D-pantothenate (vitamin B5) products for use in human and animal nutrition by € 1.4 per kg (US$ 2.0 per kg).

The firm also said it will shut down the production of calcium D-pantothenate at its facility in Ludwigshafen for a few weeks during October 2011 to conduct a routine overhaul.

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