German chemicals firm BASF has announced a major price hike across its range of pharmaceutical excipients, upping price tags by as much as 9 per cent.
The pricing increase is effective immediately, and is being blamed on higher raw material, energy and transportation costs, and will affect products across the company's range of binders, disintegrants, coatings, solvents and solubilisers.
This is the just the latest price adjustment in what appears to have been a fine-tuning of prices across the board at the chemical behemoth.
October saw prices jumping up for a variety of products, including methylamines and derivatives, polymer dispersion and powders, and styrenic copolymer specialties - all put down to increased raw material and energy costs and the need to improve margins.
Only a few months earlier, June saw the company initiating another swathe of price hikes, this time including ethanolamines (used to manufacture active pharmaceutical ingredients) which were on the hit list again just three months later when the price went up again.
A year ago, BASF upped the price of intermediates used in the manufacture or penicillin drugs, increasing the price of all its acid chlorides, chloroformates and related specialties by seven per cent, again blaming raw material costs eating away at the company's margins.
The firm, however, is not alone is being forced to raise its prices, with pharmaceutical manufacturers having to bear the brunt of the increased pressure on chemical and intermediates firms.
Just last month FMC BioPolymer announced an eight per cent increase in the price of its pharmaceutical grade cellulose, again citing raw material pricing pressures, while Kyowa Hakko and Ajinomoto have both upped the price of their amino acid products over the course of the year.
BASF have at least recently launched a new excipient product, Ludiflash, which the firm touts as a superior option for orally disintegrating tablets (ODTs).
Designed to melt in the mouth "almost like soft ice cream," the new product promises to improve the quality of ODTs whilst saving manufacturers time and money. The excipient can be used directly on existing standard tabletting machines, with the resultant tablets mechanically stable and able to be packaged in standard blister packs or PE containers.
With no licensing agreement required, manufacturers maintain full control over their formulation and manufacturing process.
While BASF was unable to comment on the latest round of price hikes prior to going to press, the upped prices of these ingredients and the subsequent increased cost of drug manufacture will no doubt cause yet another grimace in a pharmaceutical industry already battling in an unforgiving environment.