The 21-day lockdownannounced by the Central government to curtail the spread of coronavirus in India has hit the supply of essential drugs and medical devices.
Most of the pharmaceutical units and medical device companies are operating at 30 per cent of the capacity due to low attendance of the employees in the wake of harassment by police as well as ban on public transport.
Ipca Laboratories, for instance, was supposed to deliver 5 lakh blisters of hydroxychloroquine (HCQS) tablets to the Central government by last Tuesday, but it had delivered the tablets after two days by air due to delay in permission from the government to airlift the product from its Siliguri facility.Though the company is sitting on raw material that can produce 100 million tablets, the lockdown is making production of the drug difficult.
With the coronavirus outbreak disrupting supply of active pharmaceutical ingredients (APIs) and medical devices from China to India, the government has come out with four schemes worth Rs 13,760 crore to encourage manufacturing of bulk drugs and medical devices in the country and their exports.
On March 21, the Union Cabinet under the chairmanship of Prime Minister Narendra Modi had approved an expenditure of Rs. 9,940 crore and Rs. 3,820 crore for APIs and medical devices, respectively.
The industry associations — Indian Drug Manufacturers’ Association (IDMA), Organisation of Pharmaceutical Producers of India (OPPI), Pharmaceuticals Export Promotion Council of India (Pharmexcil), among others have given an undertaking that all restricted molecules for export are sufficiently available for next four months.
The undertaking was given by industry bodies at a meeting held by Preeti Sudan, secretary, ministry of health and joint secretary, DrMandeep Bhandari in New Delhi on March 21, 2020.