The state governments of Andhra Pradesh and Telangana have issued a Government Order (GO) informing that bulk drug and API manufacturing units would be exempted from the total lockdown during the novel Coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak in the country.
Soon after the government announced the complete lockdown in the country, wherever positive cases of COVID-19 were reported, Bulk Drug Manufacturers Association (BDMA) wrote a letter to Prime Minister of India and to the Chief Ministers of Andhra Pradesh and Telangana requesting them to exempt bulk drug and pharma units from the total lockdown.
Adhering to the government’s issued guideline that essential services will be exempted from the lockdown, the Chief Secretaries of Andhra Pradesh and Telangana, issued the order stating that production and manufacturing units which require a continuous process such as pharmaceuticals, API etc, will continue the production activities. Both states account for a considerable share of the country’s production of APIs and bulk drugs.
Madan Mohan Reddy, Director, Aurobindo Pharma said, “We thank the state government for providing clarifying on this. At our manufacturing units, we are only manufacturing those products which are of high priority, the rest of the production activities we are evaluating it.”
Commenting on the precautionary measures taken at the Aurobindo Pharma sites and offices, Reddy informed, “All our pharmaceuticals and related packing units are functional with company owned transportation, and we have decided to run 12 hour shifts for casual workers to avoid more number of changeovers. We have taken all preventive and precautionary measures such as, all are buses are sanitised before the start and end of every shift. All drivers have to pass through health checks before they take the charge. All employees have been screened health check before boarding the bus as well as entering inside the plant gate. Anyone found with either fever or cold will be quarantined and checked for their family, friends health issues and monitored by administration. We have also ensured that our canteen facility has been used by the minimum number of staff with more intervals. All our contract staff undergo a health check and are n monitored everyday by a dedicated team. And as an industry, we are all educating people to do voluntary checks and communicate if they have any issues.”
Ravi Uday Bhaskar, Director General, Pharmaceutical Export Promotion Council of India , (Pharmexcil) said, “The Government has already mentioned that all essential services/commodities will be exempted from the lockdown. Since pharma supplies fall under the category, production units of pharma companies have to continue with precautionary measures, as the government order further clarifies.
Commenting on Pharmexcil’s concerns during COVID-19, Bhaskar said, “Our major concern is about restrictions on pharma exports. Huge pharma consignments for different countries are lying at different ports (in the country). However, we are optimistic to hear about some positive actions from the government.”