The Hindustan Syringes and Medical Devices (HSMD) has written a letter to the Department of Health & Family Welfare requesting an update about the government’s action plans for Pfizer’s COVID-19 vaccine in India.
The company said that since the product specifications of pharma firms who are involved in the development of COVID-19 vaccines are likely to differ, it also needs time to gear up to meet the requirements. “Therefore, we request to provide clarity about the government’s plan pertaining to Pfizer’s application to the Indian drug regulatory agency seeking emergency use authorisation for its COVID-19 vaccine in India,” it said.
The company would like to make arrangements accordingly for injecting Pfizer’s COVID vaccine.
In a letter to Dr Manohar Agnani, Additional Secretary, the Department of Health & Family Welfare, the company has mentioned that “Pfizer’s COVID vaccine needs 0.3 ml dose as communicated to (HSMD) by PATH and UNICEF last month. They have requested us to develop 0.3 ml AD syringe, which we are preparing to deliver by January end after getting the WHO Performance, Quality and Safety (PQS), which we are likely to get by January beginning. India too needs to plan similarly and issue a clear advisory (whether Pfizer sells to the government or directly to the public in the private market).”
Rajiv Nath, MD, Hindustan Syringes and Medical Devices said, “To develop 0.3 ml AD syringe, initially, we are planning a capacity of 10-12 million per month for UNICEF. If we have to plan for India, we require a minimum of six weeks’ time to prepare. Therefore, we need information pertaining to the country’s requirement to match the supply with demand.”
The company has already received an order for 140 million Kojak AD Syringes from UNICEF for COVID vaccine in addition to their earlier long term agreement order of 159 million AD syringes of 0.5ml for supply by end of December 2020.
Nath informed, “Recently, we have expanded our production capacity of 0.5 ml from 560 million pcs per annum in June to 700 million pcs currently, which we further intend to increase to 800 million per annum by next quarter and thereafter to one billion per annum by the end of the second quarter of next year (2021-2022).”
Presently, the company supplies to key agencies like UNICEF, WHO, Government of India along with several other countries. “In the public sector, the government uses our syringes for different vaccination drives, which they procure for public healthcare delivery. While we do sell our syringes to vaccine manufacturing companies also but usually those are developed for the specialised drug delivery applications,” informed Nath.