Pharma units still not able to operate freely
Raw material supplies are hampered
- The Department of Pharmaceuticals warned of an impending shortage of drugs if pharmaceutical units are not able to operate freely during the lockdown, there has only been a marginal improvement in their functioning, with employee movement, transport and raw material supplies still hampered, and courier services remaining non-functional.
- Most domestic pharmaceutical producers are operating at 30%-50% of capacity, while larger research-driven players say they have hit 40%-50%.
- The industry was operating at just 20%-30% of capacity and called for immediate measures to bring the output back to the pre-lockdown level.
- The Department is co-ordinating with the Ministry of Civil Aviation to bring in raw materials, finished drugs and vaccines on special flights operated by Air India.
- The Department of Posts and the Railways have offered pharma producers their services to help reach products to the hinterland.
- Manpower availability has improved a little, but people who have left the cities and gone back are hard to replace. Materials movement hasn’t improved much and packaging also remains difficult to procure.
- The industry is hoping that things may start to improve, as parts of the country will relax the lockdown norms, and trucks carrying essential as well as non-essential goods have been allowed to move across State borders.
- Truck movement has improved, coming from a zero level (when the lockdown was initiated) to 40%-50%. Availability of cold chain services, critical for moving vaccines and insulin, are still at 30% of the pre-lockdown levels, and we have been alerting the government to this.