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Covid-19: Logistics, shortage of manpower major challenges for pharma industry, says Laurus Labs chief

G Naga Sridhar Hyderabad | Updated on April 22, 2020 Published on April 22, 2020

Laurus Labs CEO Satyanarayana Chava   -  The Hindu

 

Disruption of logistics and scarcity of workers are among the major challenges being faced by the pharmaceutical industry in the wake of the coronavrius (Covid-19) pandemic, according to Satyanarayana Chava, Founder & CEO, Laurus Labs.

Speaking to BusinessLine on the impact of Covid-19 and subsequent national lockdown, he said there were various forms of disruption in the industry, though there were individual variations among the drug makers.

“Logistics are taking longer and freight rates have gone gone up. Apart from supply chain issues, this is also leading to shortage of manpower,” he said.

In pharmaceuticals and other manufacturing industries, work from home is not possible given the nature of operations.

“There is shortage of staff, including chemists and other workmen. Because of the lockdown, many have gone to their home towns and are unable to return. I am sure that no company in the industry is now working at full capacity,” he said.

Maintaining business continuity

To ensure business continuity and operations, Laurus has taken a slew of measures. The Hyderabad-based drug maker is now operating at 60 per cent of its capacity. “We have put in place a very extensive sanitation program. Every employee has to undergo protocols, and overcrowding is being avoided,” he said.

The company is also monitoring the body temperature and medical and travel history of all its employees.

Hydroxychloroquine

On the availability of hydroxychloroquine in the wake of the recent lifting of the ban on its exports by the government, Satyanarayana said: “There is no need for concern at all as India has the capacity to produce approximately 40 crore tablets per month. There is no need for a ban on exports.”

“We are not even using 1 per cent of the tablets, given the low number of infections as of now,” he added.

Given the production capacity of drugs, the country has the capability to cater to two crore patients, which is a matter of comfort.

Laurus is a producer and exporter of Hydroxychloroquine.

On the preparedness of the government in tackling the dreaded virus, Satyanarayana said, “The government is managing well. The number of infections in India is lower compared to other countries as of now and our fragile public health infrastructure system is able to handle it.”

Measures like early lockdown, and readiness to set up isolation facilities, among others, are working positively for India, he added.

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Published on April 22, 2020
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