The Union health ministry has exempted hand sanitisers from licensing for sale and stocking, to enable wider availability during the COVID-19 outbreak.
The Ministry of Health and Family Welfare also exempted sale of hand sanitizers from all licenses under the Drugs and Cosmetics Act, according to a notification dated July 27.
The order, published in the Gazette of India, was effectively immediately from the date of the publishing.
According to a Mint report, the All India Organisation of Chemists and Druggists (AIOCD) has criticized the move, claiming that it will lead to the sale of substandard products.
Frequently Asked Questions
A vaccine works by mimicking a natural infection. A vaccine not only induces immune response to protect people from any future COVID-19 infection, but also helps quickly build herd immunity to put an end to the pandemic. Herd immunity occurs when a sufficient percentage of a population becomes immune to a disease, making the spread of disease from person to person unlikely. The good news is that SARS-CoV-2 virus has been fairly stable, which increases the viability of a vaccine.
There are broadly four types of vaccine — one, a vaccine based on the whole virus (this could be either inactivated, or an attenuated [weakened] virus vaccine); two, a non-replicating viral vector vaccine that uses a benign virus as vector that carries the antigen of SARS-CoV; three, nucleic-acid vaccines that have genetic material like DNA and RNA of antigens like spike protein given to a person, helping human cells decode genetic material and produce the vaccine; and four, protein subunit vaccine wherein the recombinant proteins of SARS-COV-2 along with an adjuvant (booster) is given as a vaccine.
Vaccine development is a long, complex process. Unlike drugs that are given to people with a diseased, vaccines are given to healthy people and also vulnerable sections such as children, pregnant women and the elderly. So rigorous tests are compulsory. History says that the fastest time it took to develop a vaccine is five years, but it usually takes double or sometimes triple that time.
The association of chemists also wrote a letter to Prime Minister Narendra Modi, asking that hand sanitizers should be sold only at pharmacies, the report said.
"The sanitiser also contains drugs like chlorhexidine, hydrogen peroxide, isopropyl alcohol, glycerol, ethanol (95 percent), propylene glycol, etc, which needs to be bought and sold in licenced premises. When a sanitiser is sold in a pharmacy, there is government machinery to control and check the quality," AIOCD said in the letter dated 21 July.
The Centre had started inspecting samples of hand sanitisers after it received complaints of substandard products, The Print reported earlier in July.