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Indian syringe makers get a reprieve from government embargo on exports

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AISNMA welcomes government’s clarification on syringe export restrictions

The All India Syringe & Needle Manufacturers Association, the nodal body for domestic syringe manufacturers is delighted & welcomes the strategic move by the government clarifying the notification issued on Monday, that it is not an export ban on any kind/type of syringes, it is only a quantitative restriction on the export of certain type of specified syringes, for a limited duration of 3 months only.

The three categories are 0.5 ml/1ml AD (auto–disable) syringes, 0.5 ml/1 ml/2 ml/3 ml disposable syringes and 1ml/2 ml/3 ml RUP (re-use prevention) syringes.

Rajiv Nath, President, AISNMA said, “So the syringes that are not used for COVID vaccination like insulin syringes, 0.3 ML, 5 ML and larger sizes of 10 ML, 20 ML & 50 ML etc will be allowed to be exported. This is definitely going to be a relief for India’s International Buyers and will majorly help to maintain India’s reputation as credible global supplier & our relationship built over the years with them.”

“We are grateful to the government for listening to the request of domestic syringe & needle manufacturers to lift the export restriction on non-COVID sizes of syringes which can’t be used in India for vaccination and will be a wasted capacity otherwise & it will put the domestic syringe makers in an awkward situation”, expressed Nath.

AISNMA members also hope that the syringes used for children vaccination / immunization programmes may be continued to be allowed for exports as requested by UN Organizations to our Members and to the Govt. of India under the monthly quantitative restrictions as India cannot deprive those children from those immunization commitments.

The DGFT on Monday issued a notification saying that the export policy for syringes with or without needles has been amended from “free” to “restricted”. All India Syringe and Needle Manufacturers Association on Tuesday expressing disappointment over the decision urged the government to reconsider the notification highlighting how India’s reputation as credible global supplier & manufacturing hub of syringes will be tarnished as being undependable.

“To ensure there is no shortage of syringes, on a voluntary basis the members of AISNMA in the last quarter and presently as well are not accepting new business export opportunities from many overseas buyers”, said Nath.

Nath also shared that HMD had yesterday on 8th Oct offered Government of India 100 million syringes in addition to their outstanding orders of 232.5 million syringes for delivery by Jan end. A prompt confirmation in the meantime has been received from the procurement Organisation for 77.5 million Syringes.

“HMD had already preponed the supply commitments to the MoH&FW & also had earlier  diverted the supply of 100 million pcs from UNICEF order to GoI from Sept to Dec”, shared Nath.

Vimal Khemka, General Secretary of AISNMA said, “While the supply chain is currently challenged due to peak season demand for dengue & typhoid which are the priority needs as we can’t afford any shortages in the Country in curative healthcare delivery we hope that the market demand will ease in November beginning/middle, as is usually the case every year and then our members will be augment further supplies for the vaccination program so that India can go back to their pre-COVID lives as before.”

“This clarification will also help to resume exports of 0.3 ML AD Syringes as a part of global vaccination campaign ‘Vaccine Syringe MAITRI’ to fulfill India’s commitments to the World, as then special syringes will be available to be used for Pfizer vaccines as these are not usable in India with Covishield and Covaxin. We are part of the global community where No One is Safe, until Everyone is Safe”, said Nath.

“We again request The Union government to place orders for AD syringes with the manufacturers in India well in advance so that the latter could ramp up supplies. Clarity should be given of India’s quarterly needs by MoH&FW for calendar year 2022 as we can’t plan on a 2-4 months window horizon basis. To ramp up capacity, we need an order confirmation at least nine months to a year in advance”, highlights Nath.

India is currently producing more vaccines than Indian production of auto disable syringes the preferred choice for COVID vaccination. However, vaccination can be given also by standard disposable syringes with a 0.5 ML/1 ML/2 ML or 3 ML syringes. Between the 20 manufacturers of AISNMA, India’s manufacturing capacity is over 500 million syringes per month and usually 30-50% is spare capacity. Steps are being taken by manufacturers to optimise capacity utilisation and source components and packaging materials etc.

We on behalf of the Indian syringe manufacturers assure the government that we will always prioritise domestic needs. COVID-19 crisis has shown that the Indian syringe manufacturers sector can rise to the challenge. Indian syringe manufacturers extends full cooperation & support to GoI and will do whatever it needs to produce syringes ahead of schedule to ensure success of India’s massive vaccination campaign”, Nath concluded.

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