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Pharma industry sees little impact of Maharashtra's curfew-like restrictions on manufacturing operations

The Maharashtra government has allowed pharma manufacturing units to remain operational with full capacity, as medicines are part of the essential services.

April 14, 2021 / 09:14 PM IST
 
 
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With Maharashtra government announcing curfew-like restrictions on public movement for the next 15 days across the state, the pharma industry expressed confidence that its operations won't be affected.

The Maharashtra government has allowed pharma manufacturing units to remain operational with full capacity, as medicines are part of the essential services.

Maharashtra is struggling to contain the second wave of COVID-19 cases. The state is seeing 60,000 cases on daily basis.

The offices of pharmaceutical companies needed for management of production and distribution, were also allowed to function with certain restrictions like having minimum staff required and in no case more than 50 percent of normal capacity and there should be no visitors to the offices and all meetings with anyone apart from office staff which is present in the same campus must only be conducted online.

Factories with more than 500 workers were asked to set up their own quarantine facilities. Such quarantine centers to have all basic facilities.

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The export oriented units that need to fulfill export obligation, are allowed to function.

Mahesh Doshi, Partner & Managing Director, DY-MACH PHARMA and President of Indian Drug Manufacturers Association told Moneycontrol that the Maharashtra curfew has weighed in all the issued faced by the industry during last year's lockdown.

"The government is more experienced. They didn't shut transportation, they allowed ancillary unit like producers of packaging material to function. Personally, I won't see any problem. If there is any problem, we will reach out to the statement government," Doshi said.

Maharashtra is an important hub of pharmaceutical production. The Serum Institute of India (SII), which is the world's largest manufacturer of vaccines, is also based in Maharashtra. The state also has headquarters of most of the large pharmaceutical companies.

In case of any worker found to be positive, unit to be closed until completely sanitised.

Maharashtra with over 3000 pharmaceutical units has a share of 20-25 percent share of India's $20 billion pharmaceutical exports.

"Government has been very explicit this time, in earlier lockdown there was no clarity. So our workers were been stopped by govt officials from going to factories," said Yugal Sikri, Managing Director of RPG Life Sciences.

"On supply sided I don't think there would be much impact, but demand factors would have bearing. There will always be drop in footfall of chemists at doctors clinics, impacting the demand," Sikri said.

Sikri said the state government allowing rapid antigen test (RAT) and pushing for workplace vaccination of the staff is positive.

But he expressed concerns over rising incidence of COVID-19.

"Factory population is also liked to get infected. The incidence rate is higher," Sikri said.
Viswanath Pilla is a business journalist with 14 years of reporting experience. Based in Mumbai, Pilla covers pharma, healthcare and infrastructure sectors for Moneycontrol.
first published: Apr 14, 2021 09:14 pm

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