With global sales of electric vehicles still growing rapidly, lithium, the main material in electric batteries, is also now becoming a big draw.
by page Nikkei Asia, lithium carbonate – an extremely important drug used to treat bipolar disorder – could be in short supply and rising in price. The pressure for this change comes nowhere more than in the auto industry.
At present, the world’s lithium reserves are actually not very small. However, demand exceeds supply due to the difficulty of accessing underground reserves.
The first factor showing the lack of lithium for the pharmaceutical industry comes from Mitsubishi. In particular, Mitsubishi Tanabe Pharma – a pharmaceutical company affiliated with Mitsubishi – has announced plans to stop selling lithium carbonate tablets. This is because the cost of manufacturing materials is rising and supplies are more difficult to find.
The Australian government’s Therapeutic Products Administration has also predicted a shortage of lithium carbonate tablets in the country between July and August 2023.
Lithium prices skyrocketed in 2022 before cooling off slightly in early 2023 as automakers race to source. This has caused many companies in other industries to be unable to supply lithium, as the quantities they order are not as large as those of their car makers.