Uttarakhand based pharma companies have seen a decline in pharma production due to the rapid spread of coronavirus in the state.
Presently, the state has a total of 240 pharma units located in the Uttarakhand, out of which nearly 120 pharma units are in the district of Haridwar and approximately 60 pharma units are in the Dehradun. These are the two major pharma clusters of Uttarakhand, however, there are around 30-40 pharma units located in Rudrapur district as well.
Pharma units based in Haridwar are gearing up to start 100 per cent production from next week.
Sanjay Kumar Sikaria, Secretary, Drug Manufacturers Association, Uttarakhand said, “Because of the mandatory enforcement of increased COVID-19 testing in the state, there will be a dip in the production cycle of pharma products in the State, which is likely to be around 10-15 per cent. But, pharma units in the Haridwar are in a better state now than those in Dehradun.”
“As per the District Magistrate order, it is a compulsion to carry out COVID-19 tests on a minimum 10 per cent of the total workforce in each company. Recently, in the Dehradun unit of Natco Pharma, 13 positive cases of coronavirus virus were found. Although, there are no containment zones as such, prescribed SOPs need to be followed. It takes a minimum of 72 hours to resume production after following the given guidelines of sanitisation programmes,” he explained
“Therefore, to extend support to our industry, we have collaborated with Dr Path Labs and have set up a unit in the Selaqui Pharma Cluster of Dehradun. Besides offering convenience to pharma units, we have also negotiated on testing charges. And we per the agreement, for each COVID-19 test, pharma companies need to spend Rs 795 as against approximately Rs 2000.”
Speaking about the situation in Haridwar, Harindra Kumar Garg, Chairman, Sidcul Manufacturers Association Uttarakhand, informed, “Unlike other states, the proportion of migrant labours in Haridwar is less, therefore it did not see a major impact on that front. However, with the given guidelines and increased testing enforcement by the local authorities, it is likely that the state pharma production may be slashed by around 25 per cent. So far, in the Haridwar, over 10,000 tests have been carried out by different industries of which around 3500 tests were for the pharma sector.”
He continued, “Till August 20, the situation in Haridwar was very critical and industry was in a state of panic, however, now we are gearing up to resume 100 per cent production activities to meet the domestic as well as international market requirements.”
He recalls, “The first batch of export consignment of hydroxychloroquine for the US market was manufactured from the unit located in Haridwar. And now we are hopeful that from the coming week onwards, we will be able to utilise full production capacity with 100 per cent attendance.”
DC Jain, Chairman, Akums Drugs and Pharmaceuticals shared, “In Haridwar, we have a total of nine units with huge production capacities and capabilities. Though there is a surge in the positive cases of coronavirus in the state, we have taken all the required precautions to prevent the spread of the virus in our units.”
Giving out details, he said, “We have taken a 76-bedded hotel and converted it into a COVID centre for our employees. We are also providing sanitised transportation facilities to each of our employees. Besides this, we are also providing immunity boosters to them. So far, none of our employees have been tested positive. Therefore, we do not see any dip in our business, in fact, companies like Torrent Pharma, Intas Pharmaceuticals, Sun Pharma are outsourcing their manufacturing activities to us. These were supposed to be managed by their Sikkim units but the impact of COVID-19 on the pharma industry still persists in Sikkim”