Indian syringe makers have hailed the strategic move by the Government about clarifying that there is no export ban on any kind or type of Syringes. The Government stated that it is only a quantitative restriction on the export of certain types of specified syringes, for a limited duration of 3 months only.
The Directorate General of Foreign Trade (DGFT) on October 5, 2021, had stated that the export policy for syringes with or without needles had been amended from ‘free’ to ‘restricted’ following which the Government has put quantitative restriction on export of 3 types of syringes to boost domestic production.
It further said that the export restriction will apply to three categories of syringes for three 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 re-use prevention (RUP) syringes.
“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 and 50 ML among others 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 and our relationship built over the years with them,” according to Rajiv Nath, President of All India Syringes & Needles Manufacturers Association (AISNMA).
AISNMA members have also urged that the syringes used for children vaccination and immunization programmes may be continued to be allowed for exports as requested by UN Organizations.
Domestic syringe manufacturers have been urging the government to reconsider the DGFT notification highlighting how India’s reputation as a credible global supplier and 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 are not accepting new business export opportunities from many overseas buyers” Nath informed.
Hindustan Syringes & Medical Devices (HMD) Ltd also informed that HMD had also provided Government of India 100 million syringes in addition to their outstanding orders of 232.5 Million Syringes for delivery by January 2022. A prompt confirmation in the meantime has been received from the procurement organization for 77.5 million syringes.
“HMD had already postponed the supply commitments to the union health ministry and also had earlier diverted the supply of 100 million pieces from UNICEF order to Government of India from September to December 2021,” according to Nath.
India is currently producing more vaccines than production of auto disable syringes which is the preferred choice for Covid vaccination. However, vaccination can be given also by standard disposable syringes with 0.5 ML / 1 ML / 2 ML or 3 ML Syringes. India’s manufacturing capacity is over 500 Million Syringes per month and usually 30% to 50% spare capacity. Steps are being taken by manufacturers to optimize capacity utilization and source components and packaging materials etc.
“We on behalf of the Indian syringe manufacturers assure the Government that we will always prioritize domestic needs. COVID-19 crisis has shown that the Indian Syringe manufacturers sector can rise to the challenge. Indian Syringe manufacturers extend full 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.