Karnataka government has issued a circular regarding the enforcement of Drug Price Control Order (DPCO) 2013 for medical oxygen supply.
Oxygen inhalation is a medicinal gas and is a scheduled formulation under the amended scheduled I of the Drug Price Control Order (DPCO) 2013. Following a Union government order there is a notified ceiling price under Para 19 of the DPCO.
Liquid medical oxygen (LMO) price ex-factory price excluding GST for a cubic metre is Rs. 15.22 and oxygen inhalation or medicinal gas in cylinder per cubic metre is Rs. 25.71. This is inclusive of transportation cost incurred for LMO up to filler.
Whereas the DPCO is issued under Section 3 of the Essential Commodities Act. Karnataka government in its notification in March 2014 had authorized officers of the state drugs control department to exercise the powers under Para 30 of the DPCO 2013. Hence all the enforcement officers of the Karnataka drugs control department authorized under the notification are directed to take suitable action to implement the order issued by the Union government.
Further all hospitals, medical centres, re-fillers and manufacturers are needed to contact the state drugs control enforcement officers or the deputy drugs controllers of the respective jurisdictional districts to resolve issues relating to the price and supply of medical oxygen, said Jawaid Akhtar, additional chief secretary to the Karnataka government, health and family welfare department.
According to Amaresh Thumbagi, additional drugs controller, government of Karnataka, the circular will address the issue relating to the supply and prices of medical oxygen. Further it will also ensure adequate supply of medical oxygen which is a critical therapy option for C-19 patients experiencing the lack of it.
Last month Karnataka like other states did see a four time increase in demand for medical oxygen from 100 to 150 metric tonnes during pre C-19 phase to 400 to 500 metric tonnes during the pandemic. There are seven companies in the state manufacturing oxygen. Of these, four are in Ballari district. The remaining three are Bhoruka Gases, Bengaluru, Praxair India, Gingera in Koppal and Universal Air Products, Kunigal in Tumakuru. The state’s directorate of commerce and industries has asked all oxygen manufacturers in the state to increase their production capacity.
The state government has accepted that the administration of medical oxygen is essential for critical patients to prevent or control complications which arise due to coronavirus disease. The government noted in its order that supply of medical oxygen in adequate quantity is an important requirement for managing moderate and severe C-19 cases.