PM Narendra Modi urges pharma industry to manufacture COVID-19 testing kits on war footing

Updated: 22 March, 2020 15:29 IST | PTI | New Delhi

In a video conference with various stakeholders associated with the pharmaceuticals industry, Modi reviewed preparations to combat COVID-19

Narendra Modi
Narendra Modi

Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Saturday urged the pharmaceutical industry to manufacture COVID-19 testing kits on "a war footing". In an interaction with leaders of the pharmaceutical industry, Modi said that the Centre has already approved schemes worth Rs 14,000 crore for production of critical drugs and medical equipment. In a tweet, the Prime Minister said, "In order to ensure production of critical drugs and medical equipment, the Centre has already approved schemes worth Rs. 14,000 crore. We will also work to maintain the supply of APIs. Urged pharma industry to manufacture COVID-19 testing kits on a war footing."

In a video conference with various stakeholders associated with the pharmaceuticals industry, Modi reviewed preparations to combat COVID-19. He said that this sector has a key role in creating a healthier India. "I am sure the pharma industry will not only ensure the maintenance of supply lines of essential medicines, medical kits and equipment, but also in a time as critical as this, they will focus on innovation and cutting-edge research," he said in another tweet.

According to an official release, the Prime Minister said that pharma producers and distributors have a crucial role to play in combating the challenge of COVID-19. He said that not only does the industry need to ensure maintenance of supply lines of essential medicines, medical kits and equipment, it should also try to come up with new and innovative solutions. He said that the government is committed to helping the industry in maintaining the supply of Active Pharmaceutical Ingredients (API), underlining the importance of the manufacture of such APIs within the country.

The Prime Minister requested the industry leaders to work on manufacturing RNA diagnostic kits for COVID-19 on a war footing. He asked the medicine retailers and pharmacists to be on constant vigil to ensure that black marketing and hoarding of medicines is avoided and supply of essentials maintained. He suggested that wherever feasible, the supply of medicines in bulk may be avoided.

Prime Minister said that in this hour of need, it is imperative for the industry to work continuously and also ensure that there is no shortage of workforce in the pharma sector. He suggested exploration of home delivery model to allow for maintenance of social distancing at pharmacies, and also promotion of usage of digital payment mechanisms to prevent the spread of the virus.

The Pharmaceutical Associations said that they are committed to maintaining the supply of essential medicines and equipment, and are also working on developing vaccines. They said that the government's policy announcements for the Pharma sector will give the sector a huge boost. The Prime Minister appreciated the dedication and commitment of the industry and the zeal with which they are working.

India has reported 315 positive cases of COVID-19 till Saturday as state governments across the country have been ordering partial or complete lockdown in their respective states.

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First Published: 22 March, 2020 10:31 IST

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