The Maharashtra Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has started inspection of premises of medical oxygen manufacturers to ensure that 80 per cent of the oxygen produced and supplied is reserved for medical purposes and for COVID-19 treatment. Rest 20 per cent can be used for industrial purposes based on the directives of union health ministry and state FDA ministry in the wake of the worsening COVID-19 scenario in the state.
Maharashtra FDA minister Dr Rajendra Shingane also held a review meeting recently with medical oxygen manufacturers in the wake of growing demand for oxygen in the state due to the rising COVID-19 cases. “As of today, inspections have been carried in Mumbai, Pune and Nagpur to check its availability and enhance vigilance in the wake of black marketing following directives from National Pharmaceutical Pricing Authority (NPPA) and union health ministry,” according to a senior official associated with the development.
FDA Minister has directed the oxygen manufacturers to strictly abide by the instructions given to them to distribute 80 per cent of the oxygen produced is to be used for medical purposes only.
FDA Minister pointed out that as the state has abundant reserves of oxygen, it needs to be properly distributed with proper coordination in supply. He advised manufacturers and state FDA officials to be vigilant so that there would be no shortage of oxygen anywhere due to transportation or logistical problems.
Manufacturers have been directed that refilling needs to be done round the clock. Larger tanks belonging to other manufacturers should also be used for transporting medical oxygen or liquid agents with the permission of the concerned department. Transport should be done round the clock to cater to cases of emergency by hiring two or more drivers for oxygen availability 24 hours a day. Arrangements should be made for immediate download as soon as the vehicle arrives in consultation with those who want to download the stock of liquid oxygen.
Arrangements should be made so that the manufacturer can take the vehicle or tanker on lease and also take the stock from other manufacturers and deliver it to the refilling station or hospital.
In addition to oxygen tankers in the state, oxygen tankers should also be procured from nearby states to supply oxygen to the state. Possibility of tankers of industrial gases to be used for transporting oxygen also needs to be explored.