Scores of exporters and importers of pharmaceuticals have called upon the port offices of Central Drugs Standard Control Organization (CDSCO) to go paperless and clear all import and export shipments online ending the human to human interaction in COVID-19 pandemic situation in line with the office of assistant drugs controller, CDSCO at International Air Cargo Complex, Mumbai.
The office of assistant drugs controller, CDSCO at International Air Cargo Complex, Mumbai has gone paperless and clearance of all import and export shipments is done totally online ending physical interaction in this pandemic situation after some of its lower staff tested positive for COVID-19. The way this office has quickly adapted to the situation also needs to be followed at other port offices of the CDSCO, said a pharmaceutical exporter on condition of anonymity.
International Air Cargo Complex, Mumbai is the largest air cargo complex in India in terms of volume of cargo handled, value of cargo, documents filed and revenue collected. And it is one of the most crucial airports right now in this pandemic situation in terms of maintaining crucial supplies of medical kits and devices, diagnostic reagents, critical medical instruments, pharmaceutical intermediates, bulk drugs, formulations, vaccines and other lifesaving medicines for specific patients etc.
Import and export of pharmaceuticals worth Rs. 2,000 crore took place at international airport, Mumbai in February 2020 and approximately 8,000 bills of entry were filed by importers at the airport in February.
Around 90 per cent of import and export of consignments in India taking place through international airport, Mumbai are presently related to pharmaceuticals only. And in this regard, the office of assistant drugs controller of India situated at International Air Cargo Complex, Mumbai has proven to be a true corona warrior by working uninterruptedly 24×7, ensuring crucial imports as well as exports in this pandemic situation despite some of its lower staff testing positive for COVID-19.
When Pharmabiz tried to reach out to Abhishek Chawla, assistant drugs controller, CDSCO, posted at International Air Cargo Complex, Mumbai for his comments on his subordinate staff being tested positive, he refused to comment and replied, “India cannot stop in spite of anything.”
From industry sources, it was informed that ADC Chawla is known to be slightly strict with respect to testing the quality of imported medicines, particularly from China. However, there has been paradigm shift in working of this office, in the right direction particularly after starting of lockdown period.
The young officer has handled the issue very maturely ensuring uninterrupted crucial services rendered by his office. He timely cleared several crucial corona related supplies single handedly even when his rest of the staff was home quarantined ensuring that India is under full control while fighting this dreaded disease.
Appreciating efforts of ADC Chawla, Devang Shah, member, merchant export, Pharmexcil said, “We have not faced any issue in clearing imported pharmaceutical consignments as well as cargo meant for export from international airport, Mumbai in the COVID-19 induced lockdown thanks to constant efforts of Chawla. He is always accessible in addressing concerns of exporters and importers.”
Shah imports approximately 30 shipments of active pharmaceutical ingredients through international airport, Mumbai a month.
Paresh Sangani, member of customs brokers association said, “ADC Chawla facilitated export and import of drug consignments from Mumbai airport despite his four staff testing positive for COVID-19. He is quite accessible in clearing sensitive pharma consignments on priority.”
There are around 2,000 customs brokers operating at Mumbai airport. Hardly any customs broker dealing with pharma consignments faced any issue at ADC office, he added.