The initiative is a response to a letter written by MoH&FW to the AIOCD about ensuring availability of critical drugs for the management of COVID-19
With an objective to ensure a continuous supply of medicines across India amidst the nationwide lockdown, the All India Organisation of Chemists and Druggists (AIOCD) has initiated pool transportation facilities for C&F agents of same areas/ zones.
The initiative is a response to a letter written by the Union Ministry for Health and Family Welfare (MoHF&W) to the AIOCD about ensuring availability of critical drugs for the management of COVID-19 and other essential drugs during these ‘challenging times.’
The letter from the health ministry also mentions that in accordance with the Clinical Management Guidelines for COVID-19, hydroxychloroquine has been recommended as prophylaxis for certain categories like healthcare workers and household contacts of positive cases. And a combination of hydroxychloroquine and azithromycin has been prescribed for severe patients requiring ICU management. It has shared a list prepared by the Director-General of India, of 55 drugs for ICU management and a list of another 96 drugs for general availability and treatment of various co-morbid conditions, which may be required during these times.
Rajiv Singhal, General Secretary, AIOCD, said, “Our members have informed that at present, approximately 80-90 per cent of the Indian medicine market does not face a shortage of medicines. However, in some pockets of the country like Zirakpur, Indore, Guwahati, Calcutta, a few places in Delhi and NCR, we realised that there is unavailability of certain medicines, largely due to poor transportation facilities as well as limited availability of courier services during the lockdown period in the country. We are trying to overcome these challenges through our widespread channel of chemists all over India. We are also interacting with local authorities and requesting them for help in this regard, and permit distributors to open up for the supply of medicines so that they can ensure availability of all medicines in the market.”
He mentioned that though some courier movement has begun, it is not sufficient to meet the requirements and reach every nook and corner of the country.
“We have also understood the problems faced by different C&F agents or depots in the country, due to poor transportation and other issues. And, to overcome those issues, now we are directly interacting with pharma companies and arranging pool transportation for C&F agents.” He said that through this initiative, AIOCD is now able to source medicines as well as transport their C&F agents and distributors of the same areas/zones.”
It has also acknowledged the contribution of Indian pharma trade channels and mentioned that chemists have strived to maintain availability and supply of important drugs in the country in these difficult times