Hydroxychloroquine: Efforts being made to speed up production in Himachal Pradesh
With the demand for hydroxychloroquine, an anti-malarial drug, rising substantially in the wake of coronavirus pandemic, efforts are being made to speed up its production in Himachal Pradesh.
Hydroxychloroquine is deemed useful in dealing with COVID-19.
State Drug Controller Navneet Marwaha said there is ample capacity in the state to produce this drug.
"There are 50 drug manufacturers in Himachal Pradesh who are holding product licenses to manufacture hydroxychloroquine tablets. Most of the manufacturers are of small or medium-scale but some have a state-of-the-art facility in Himachal Pradesh and are in a position to cater to the demands," said Marwaha on Friday.
Several countries have requested India for the supply of the said drug even as the globally confirmed cases of the virus, which originated in China's Wuhan last year, has surpassed 1.5 million.
India has cleared the first list of 13 countries for hydroxychloroquine which includes USA, Spain, Germany, Bahrain, Brazil, Nepal, Bhutan, Sri Lanka, Afghanistan, Maldives and Bangladesh.
"Presently, there are 10-12 manufacturers who are manufacturing this drug. But, all those who have product licence can start their production depending upon orders and demands," said Marwaha.
He also said that Chief Minister Jai Ram Thakur had held a video conference with the representatives of pharmaceutical firms to know about their problems and how the production capacity of these units can be increased.
The Himachal Pradesh Drug Manufacturing Association is seeking more support from the government and is demanding relaxation in certain norms to those pharmaceutical units which fulfil norms for the production of this life-saving drug.
The president of the Association, Dr Rajesh Gupta in a telephonic conversation said there are dozens of such pharma units that are still struggling to start the manufacturing of the hydroxychloroquine tablets.
While pointing out that shortage of labor, managerial staff, and transportation amid the lockdown is a major drawback, he also said that Baddi and Nalagarh regions have now been sealed.
Gupta said the Association had held talks with the Chief Minister in this regard. "We are expecting that the state government would give our suggestions a serious thought so that our problems are resolved."
India's total number of coronavirus positive cases rose to 6,761 on Friday, according to the website of Union Ministry of Health and Family Welfare.