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MoHFW to consider lifting export restrictions on medicines

MoHFW asks the industry to submit an undertaking to maintain four months stock of the restricted medicines in the country. The industry anticipates that the consideration will be presented to the Cabinet Secretary and PMO by early next week

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To lift the restrictions on pharmaceutical exports, the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare, Government of India (MoHFW) has asked the Indian pharma industry to provide an undertaking, declaring they will maintain four months stock of the restricted medicines in the country in the crucial time of corona virus outbreak.

Recently, the Government of India put a restriction on 26 pharma ingredients and formulations, to ensure continued supply of these drugs in the country, during the Covid-19 pandemic.

However, the industry raised their concerns to the respective ministries expressing its larger impact on the pharma industry and country’s economy.

To understand the export concerns of manufacturers over restricted medicines and also find a solution to ensure medicines remain  available in the country, the Secretary and the Joint Secretary of the MOHFW organised a meeting with pharma associations: IDMA, OPPI and Pharmexcil today in New Delhi.

The meeting was chaired by Preeti Sudan, Secretary, MoHFW,  and Dr Mandeep Bhandari, IAS, Joint Secretary, MoHFW, Government of India, and attended by the  representatives of CDSCO and pharma associations; IDMA, OPPI and Pharmexcil.

To act immediately, the CDSCO office has asked the pharma industry’s representative bodies to present the requested data on a priority basis. And the industry anticipates that the above discussion of consideration about lifting the restrictions will be presented to the Cabinet Secretary and PMO office by early next week.

Commenting on the consideration, Dr Dinesh Dua, Chairman, Pharmexcil said, “This move will ease out the restriction imposed on the Indian pharma manufacturers for exports. And we, (as in industry) completely understands the Secretary of Ministry of Health and Family Welfare asking us to provide the undertaking that all the restricted molecules for exports in the crucial situation of Covid-19. However, we are sure that all those medicines which are restricted for exports are sufficiently available in the country for next four months.”

He also informed that the Secretary of Ministry of Health and Family Welfare has asked the pharma associations to present a collated demand of upper respiratory track medicines for Jan-April from 2017-  2019 and Jan-Feb 2020 to see the trend of medicines consumption/demand along with the current stock position of these medicines.”

Spokespersons from the CDSCO and IDMA were unavailable to comment on this development. An industry source commented that asking for an undertaking from the industry shows the mistrust/ lack of confidence the government is having on the industry. However, he also mentioned that together we will try to get that as well.

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