New Delhi [India], April 22 (ANI): With pharmaceutical companies operating with a smaller workforce and limited resources amid the nationwide lockdown forced by the coronavirus pandemic, the production of several key medicines, including the anti-TB drugs, has been affected.
The issue has been flagged by Union Health Secretary Preeti Sudan in a letter to the Empowered Group for Facilitating Supply Chain and Logistic Management, Government of India, wherein she has sought the Empowered Group's intervention in ensuring seamless availability of drugs to the National TB Elimination Programme (NTEP).
In a letter addressed to, Parameswaran Iyer, Chairman of the Empowered Group, Sudan has sought directions to the Department of Pharmaceuticals and Department of Commerce to ban the export of anti-TB drugs for the time being.
"The suppliers have communicated that anti-TB drug supplies will be delayed due to 'Force majeure' due to COVID-19 response activities limited material for production, limited manpower (because of restrictions) and limited transportation facilities.
"Under these circumstances...it is requested the empowered group may issue directions to Dept. of pharmaceuticals, Ministry of Chemicals and Fertilizer and Department of Commerce, Government of India for their intervention in this regard and also issue necessary direction for prohibiting the export of anti-TB medicines while considering mandatorily the need of the country as an overriding priority to ensure smooth supply of anti-TB drugs so that the NTEP does not any problem in receiving these anti-TB drugs," Sudan said in the letter.
She also asked the Chief Secretaries of states and UTs to instruct the authorities concerned in their respective states to ensure that transport is available to maintain the supplies of finished product (medicines) and that the related workers/labourers are able to reach production sites from their different districts or from the nearby states of the manufacturing plant of the drug manufacturing companies.
Currently, Macleods and Lupin ate the anti-TB drug supplier to NTEP. Their major factories are at Ankeshwar and Bharuch in Gujarat, Baddi in Himachal Pradesh and Daman and Diu, Sudan said. (ANI)