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Covid-19: Lockdown disrupts delivery of medical supplies

Our Bureau Mumbai | Updated on March 25, 2020 Published on March 25, 2020

Association of Indian Medical Device Industry urges local administration to recognise medicines and medical equipment as essential products

A major crisis is being seen in hospitals as masks, sanitisers, certain medicines and medical devices are not being delivered on time, say industry representatives, as the 21-day lockdown gets implemented across the country.

“Avoidable restrictions have been imposed by local police, on the mobility of citizens associated with the supply, distribution and transport of medicines, raw materials and components to make masks, sanitisers and other medical devices to the factories and manufacturing plants, which are holding up production (and) adding to shortages,” the Association of Indian Medical Device Industry (AiMed), said in a statement.

The biggest concern is the lack of courier services and trucks, said AiMed’s Rajiv Nath, even though the Secretary with the Department of Consumer Affairs had issued orders supporting the supply of essential goods, he added.

Direction for closure

Pharmaceutical and medical-device makers are also facing issues as the district administrations in various States/UTs have incorrectly given directions to close manufacturing operations, including those in the pharmaceutical and medical industry, as part of the efforts to contain the spread of the coronavirus. Reports suggest that district collectors are unwilling to listen until orders reach them, the statement said.

The association appealed to the local administration and police to recognise that medicines, raw materials, components to make masks, sanitisers and other medical devices like gloves, consumables, disposables, electronics, equipments, instruments, implants and IVD reagents are most essential healthcare delivery products. They urged the administration to extend their support and provide a free passage to the people in the supply chain of essential commodities to reach factories, manufacturing plants and there on to reach hospitals and clinics.

In this regard, the Department of Pharmaceuticals (DoP), whose mandate is to ensure availability, accessibility and affordability of medicines and medical devices across the country, has written to Chief Secretaries of all States/UTs to issue directions for treating the above activities as essential services and also directed the authorities to make necessary arrangements for issuance of identity cards, entry passes etc to facilitate movement of workers engaged in these essential activities, the association said.

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Published on March 25, 2020
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