Drug Production Units Face Trouble Despite Government Order

HYDERABAD: Bulk manufactures of drugs in Hyderabad and surrounding areas have been facing trouble due to police action since the lockdown announcement by the state government. Buses transporting employees, vehicles supplying raw material for drugs are being stopped or seized at various police stations.

The Bulk Drug Manufacturers Association had written to chief minister K Chandrasekhar Rao but despite principal secretary Jayesh Ranjan’s clarification, bulk drug units continued to face similar issues.

“The government had issued GO-45 wherein the pharma industry had been exempted from the lockdown keeping in view the essential service of making enough stocks of critical drugs and pharma products available. However, most employees and busses of drug companies are being stopped by local police officials. Some are also not accepting the clarification addressed to district collectors by the principal secretary,” executive director of Bulk Drug Manufacturers Association, P Eshwar Reddy told TOI.

“Bulk drug and pharma unit operations are continuous and work round-the-clock. An inspector from Dundigal is not allowing pharma employees despite them showing the principal secretary’s letter and other relevant documents. Cops at Dundigal also seized medical supply vehicles,” Eshwar Reddy said.

Meanwhile, police claimed that they only seized pharma company buses that were violating social distancing norms. “On the first day (of lockdown), around 20 buses of pharma companies were stopped, counselled and later released. They were violating social distancing norms during transportation and there were no sanitisers or masks in the buses. They were told to give it in writing that they would not violate the norms again,” an inspector from Dundigal said. “Today (Tuesday) we seized 18 buses carrying employees without following proper measures. We also booked cases. Out of 400 buses we checked, 18 are seized. We did not seize any trucks supplying raw material,” the inspector added.

BDMA national president VV Krishna Reddy has written letters to chief ministers of Telangana and AP in this regard. “Over 35% of bulk drugs and pharmaceutical production in India takes place in Hyderabad, Rangareddy, Medchal, Sangareddy and Kothagudem and three districts — Prakasham, Krishna and Vishakapatnam — in Andhra Pradesh. We are already under pressure to operate units at full capacity to mitigate the issue of shortage of essential drugs. As most operations in bulk drug processing are continuous, it would be difficult to abruptly stop the reactions which could lead to unsafe operation,” Krishna Reddy said.

“All our member units have introduced thorough checking of all employees, casual workers and indirect workers…There is a need to implement the exemption to the bulk drug industry,” the BDMA president added.

Times Of India

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