The Gujarat Food and Drug Control Administration (FDCA) has issued hand sanitizer licenses to 515 manufacturers till date to address its growing demand amidst COVID-19 pandemic outbreak.
The state just had 15 hand sanitizer manufacturers before the first lockdown. Out of the 515 manufacturers, 135 are in the ayurvedic category, 270 manufacturers are under cosmetics category and 110 are under allopathic or drug category. “As a pre-emptive measure to ensure consistent supply of hand sanitizers, we have made the provision of approving licenses for hands sanitizers production and distribution under the emergency use authorization,” informs FDCA commissioner Dr HG Koshia.
The Gujarat government has also exempted sale and distribution of ethanol for production of hand sanitizers in order to tide over its shortage in the state. The exemption which was notified by the state government was done because the cost of isopropyl alcohol (IPA) which was Rs. 80 per litre earlier before the COVID-19 pandemic outbreak was being sold illegally at arbitrary price of Rs. 300 per litre. Gujarat has stock of 34 lakh hand sanitisers from the earlier 5 lakh sanitisers dated March 21, 2020.
Taking patient safety into consideration amidst outbreak of coronovirus pandemic, the Gujarat FDCA has approved product licences mostly from small and medium Indian manufacturers which have Schedule M compliant units and which are complying with the provisions of cosmetic rules.
A state level committee has also been formed to oversee the consistent supply of ARV drugs, masks and sanitisers. The committee is headed by Gujarat FDCA Commissioner Dr HG Koshia with members from the state industry department and state pollution control board. Union ministry of consumer affairs, food and public distribution has extended the validity of March 19, 2020 notification declaring hand sanitizer as essential commodity for six months until December 31, 2020 to ensure its continued availability at affordable price in the market.
Beside this, the ministry has also extended the validity of March 21 notification fixing the retail prices of hand sanitizer until December 31, 2020. As per the notification, the retail prices of hand sanitizer cannot be more than Rs. 100 per bottle of 200 ml. It is now capped at 100 ml at Rs 50 and 500 ml for Rs. 250. Both these notifications are in force till June 30, 2020.
The ministry in a notification on March 19, 2020 had brought raw materials for manufacture of hand sanitizer under Essential Commodities (EC) Act to ensure their smooth availability in market at affordable price in view of the outbreak of COVID-19.