900 pharma plants start operations despite lockdown
The Gujarat pharmaceutical industry is upbeat as around 900 out of 1,100 plants have started operations in the state despite lockdown imposed by the government to contain COVID-19. Most of these plants produce formulations. Out of the 1,100 plants, 900 manufacturing plants have started working at 80% of its capacity.
The state today has 600 WHO-GMP manufacturing units and around 130 US FDA approved pharmaceutical units, as per official records.
“There are manufacturing units which are likely to start operations soon which include APIs, formulations and medical device units. These 900 plants represent major companies like Alembic, Sun Pharma, Intas, Troikaa Pharma among others,” informed Gujarat Food and Drug Control Administration (FDCA) Commissioner Dr HG Koshia.
“Today we have 334 licensed hand sanitisers manufacturers from the earlier 234 manufacturers. We are well equipped to meet the demands of key drugs for COVID-19 patients like hydoxychloroquine (HCQ), lopinavir and ritonavir as we move forward to export HCQ to regulated markets for COVID-19 patients,” Dr Koshia explained.
Gujarat government has procured over one crore HCQ tablets to cater to the COVID-19 patients and healthcare workers. Hydoxychloroquine which is now a Schedule H1 drug is required for prophylactic use for healthcare workers and for people exposed to COVID-19 positive cases besides its wide therapeutic use.
According to official estimates, Gujarat has the capacity of 15 metric tonnes capacity available in the form of three bulk drug manufacturers which can produce seven crore hydroxychloroquine tablets at one go. There are three bulk drug players like Cadila Healthcare, Vital Laboratories, Mangalam Drugs and Organics in Gujarat.