'Lockdown resulting in medical supply disruption'

Lockdown resulting in drugs, medical devices supply disruption: Industry

Lockdown across the country to curb the spread of coronavirus is resulting in drugs and medical devices not reaching the hospitals and consumers despite them being exempted by the government, industry players said on Wednesday.

Avoidable restrictions have been imposed by local police on the mobility of the citizens associated with the supply, distributions and transport of medicines, raw materials, components to make masks, sanitizers and other medical devices to the factories and manufacturing plants which are holding up production, adding to shortage, AiMeD Forum Coordinator Rajiv Nath said in a statement.

Pharmaceutical and medical device manufacturers are also facing issues as some of the district administrations in various states/ UTs have incorrectly given directions to close the manufacturing operations in the pharmaceutical and medical device industry also as part of various measures to contain the spread of coronavirus, AiMeD said.

"We on behalf of the Indian Medical Device Industry appeal to local administration and police to recognise that medicines, raw materials, components to make masks, sanitizers and other medical devices like gloves, consumables, disposables, electronics, equipments, instruments, implants and IVD reagents are most essential healthcare delivery products at this critical hour of crisis," Nath said.

So, the authorities are requested to extend support and give free passage to the people in the supply chain of essential commodities to reach factories, manufacturing plants, among others, he added.

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In this regard, the Department of Pharmaceuticals (DoP) has written to the chief secretaries of all state/ UTs to review the matter and issue directions for treating these activities as essential services and also direct the authorities concerned to make necessary arrangements for issuance IDs/ entry pass so as to facilitate movements of the workers engaged in these essential activities.

"Further, in cases where inter-state movements of workers are involved, you may sort the matter with your counterpart in the state concerned, so that the pharma/ medical devices factories function without any hindrance," the letter said.

In similar vein, in a regulatory filing, Suven Pharmaceuticals said, "Even though pharma manufacturing is exempted from this lockdown situation, there are many obstacles which we are encountering, namely no movement of goods interstate nor intrastate."

This has caused a shortage of raw materials and prevented the company from being able to export finished products. To compound the situation, the government agencies at the seaports and airports are not operating to inspect and clear those finished goods, the letter by Suven Group of Companies Venkat Jasti to customers and shareholders said. 

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