By Priyanka Sharma
New Delhi [India], April 7 (ANI): In a step to ensure adequate supply of `oxygen for medical use' for treating coronavirus patients, the country's top drug regulator has asked drug regulators in all states and UTs to give requisite approvals within 24 hours to the manufacturers of industrial oxygen.
In a letter, Drug Controller General of India (DCGI) said that supplemental oxygen therapy is part of clinical management of COVID-19 patients and it is imperative to ensure the availability and supply of oxygen for medical use across the country.
He said that All India Industrial Gases Manufacturers Association (AIIGMA) has made a proposal for allowing manufacturers of industrial oxygen to make `oxygen for medical use'.
"In view of the above, to ensure the availability and supply of oxygen for medical use, it has been decided in the public interest that the premises which are having the facility to manufacture industrial oxygen should be granted manufacturing license to manufacture oxygen for medical use within 24 hours of receiving the application, fees, etc as per the Drugs and Cosmetics Act 1940," the top regulator said.
DCGI said the medical oxygen will be manufactured in compliance with the standards prescribed in Indian pharmacopoeia and labelling requirements as per rules.
The Union Health Ministry wants to ensure adequate supply of medical oxygen and the government has directed all hospitals to ensure its adequate supply so that there is no disruption in treatment of COVID-19 patients.
The Health Ministry has framed the new protocol related to the handling of major sources of oxygen supply, oxygen system components and normative requirement quantity of oxygen.
A senior health ministry official said that precautions are needed in using oxygen for treating coronavirus patients and equipment to supply the oxygen needs the same disinfection treatment as is given to other machinery and surfaces in the hospital.
"Right from filling point to use in critical care facilities, cylinders are handled by various people. Safe handling of cylinders is a major challenge which needs a focused effort," said the official. (ANI)